How To Write Dialogue Between Two Characters

How to write dialogue

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On the face of it, dialogue is pretty easy. It’s just the way characters talk to each other in a novel or movie. Pop the text in between quote marks using the correct punctuation and you’re done! Actually, it’s much more complex than that. Learning how to write dialogue between two characters is absolutely crucial to the success of your book or screenplay.

The author has the task of creating a conversation in fiction that seems to be realistic but isn’t at all like people communicate in real life. It gives the impression of effortlessly flowing and getting straight to the point, whereas in real life chats we ‘um’ and ‘ah’, repeat ourselves and often talk about nothing.

In fact, a huge part of our conversations just reflect the conventions of our culture and time. The paradox is that it doesn’t look real on the written page. In normal life, dialogue performs the function of communication. In a novel, dialogue should drive the story forward, help describe characters and provide emotion.

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How To Write Dialogue Between Two Characters & Keep It Real!

Video Transcript;

Hello learning birds – this is Eric Buffington and this is our creative writing lesson on dialogue. We’re going to talk about what is dialogue, keeping a good balance of dialogue and action, and then making realistic dialogue.

So dialogue. When I talk about dialogue I’m going to be talking about when characters are speaking or communicating with each other. When a new person speaks you need to begin a new paragraph and you need to indicate what they’re saying using quotation marks.

So I’m going to show you a bit of dialogue from JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit and you’ll be able to see this in action. Here’s the example of dialogue:

I was coming over the mountains with a friend or two.
“I can only see one and a little one at that,” said Bjorn.
“Well, to tell you the truth, I did not like to bother you with a lot of us until I found out if you were busy. I will give a call if I may?”
“Go on. Call away.”

What Is Dialogue Between Two Characters?

So you can see, with each time a person speaking, you get a new paragraph and that’s helpful. It helps us to keep it differentiated who’s speaking and then what they’re saying is inside of those quotation marks.

How to write dialogue between two characters tips for beginnersWhen you are writing dialogue between two characters you want to keep a good balance. If you just have dialogue for a long time, without anything else, the reader is left very confused, not knowing what’s happening or the tone of what they’re saying or anything about the dialogue at all.

On the other end of things, if you have too much action between the dialogue pieces, the reader will have a hard time remembering what’s being said. Let me show you what I’m talking abou. Here’s an example with too much dialogue:

How To Write Dialogue Between Two Characters Example

“Do you like fish?”
“Yes I do!”
“That’s wonderful. What’s your favorite kind?”
“I like goldfish.”
“That’s gross.”
“I didn’t mean it like that.”
“I like you, you’re funny.”
“I think I’m starting to like you too. It tingles when you hold my hand.”

Like, that this is totally confusing and terribly written it. Yeah, it’s just horrible. The reader wouldn’t have any idea what’s going on if you only have dialogue. It’s made even worse if you have more than two characters speaking back and forth. It’s harder to follow.

You need to have those action and tone and what they’re doing how, they’re saying it all, in between there to make it make sense. Here’s our other bad example of too much action:

“Do you like fish?,” John asked as he looked out over the big blue ocean. It had been years since he was last on the shores of this beautiful island and he felt a mix of joy at returning, and sadness that he had been away for so long. He lowered his head and took a deep breath, then turned back to pulling on the rope that moved their boat slowly to the shore. “Yes,” she replied.

So obviously by the time you get her answer you’ve almost forgotten what the question is because there’s so much happening. This is an extreme example but you can see the principle here. You want to have a balance of not too much action and not too much dialogue.

How To Write Dialogue Between Two Characters In A Book

Another note about dialogue is that you need to keep it real. Read the dialogue out loud. Perhaps have a friend read one part as you read another part. See if it makes sense. Is that the way that a real conversation would go? Would it logically go from one thing to the next?

How to write dialogue in a narrative guide

And also note that different people speak differently. Some people have accents. Some people have different idioms that they use or words that they use differently. Try and incorporate that into your writing and it will help to enhance your writing style. Let’s take a look at this and see if it’s realistic or not:

“Hello, Jill,” Jack said with his head hanging down.
“Hi,” she responded.
“I’ve had a really bad day. My mom ran out of water and I need someone to go up that hill there to fetch it with me.”

Is this realistic? Not really. Why is this not realistic? We’ve got that “hi,” she responded. She’s not caring about how he’s reacting and what she said would never lead a friend to ask telling about a bad day. So let’s change her dialogue a little bit, so that it’s a little more realistic.

“Hello, Jill,” Jack said, with his head down.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, voice filled with concern.
“I’ve had a really bad day. My mom ran out of water and I need someone to go up that hill there to fetch it with me.”

How To Write Good Dialogue Between Two Characters


Now we have dialogue that flows a little bit more. It makes more sense and it goes from one thing logically to the next. One final example here, where I tried to show a balance of action and dialogue:

“Kaz Kinsley, I know you’re up there.” Kaz casually sat at the side of the roof dangling his legs over the edge.
“Kaz, what are you doing?” Fenn asked in an angry yet hushed tone. “My heart is about to pound out of my chest.”
With a smirk Kaz responded, “That’s what all the girls in the village say about me.”
“You wish,” Fenn retorted, ” The only time you make hearts beat is when they’re running to get away from you.”

So this is dialogue that is obviously between a young man who’s sitting up on a roof of a building and a young girl that he actually threw something down at her and scared her. So you can see that there’s a little bit of action mixed with the dialogue that keeps it realistic, keeps it flowing and it’s a conversation that you can actually see happening.

So remember when you’re working with dialogue to keep it balanced, keep it real, and have a wonderful day.

How to write dialogue between two characters PDF

Examples Of Dialogue Between Two Characters – Another Perspective

Video Transcript;

“You see that? I just stood there.” That was dialogue and that’s what we’re gonna talk about today. So some of you might have some difficulty with making your dialogue sound perfect to you and it might sound choppy or boring or just lack-luster.

So today I’m gonna give you some tips on how to make your dialogue awesome. First of all let’s just talk about the point of dialogue. Why is dialogue even necessary in a story? I think the most important thing that it does is to show the relationship between two of your characters rather than just tell it.

Conversation between two charactersBut dialogue also has another very important role – to move the story forward. But wait, that’s what narrative’s for, right? Yes, but if we’re studying for a test, we don’t just read the book once and then expect to get a good grade. We watch videos online, or we read articles.

We make flashcards of all of these pieces work, symbiotically that looks really weird, to make sure you get a good grade on your test. Together dialogue and narrative can make your story shine. Think of it this way; your characters and your plot, you’re setting, are all paths and your dialogue in your narrative is a vehicle.

Your dialogue helps to add some tension, reveals the personality of some of your characters and can reveal some pertinent information. If your dialogue just isn’t doing any of these, then you should totally watch the rest of my video because we’ve got some tips for you, like 9 in total.

Alright, so first up we’re gonna talk about those imperfect characters. You know, everyone’s got one in their family. Ah just kidding. That’s not what I’m talking about. You should have a ton of imperfect characters in your writing because guess what, we’re all imperfect.

I, for instance, can’t seem to fold laundry. It’s just not in my repertoire of zombie apocalypse knowledge because, let’s be honest, that’s all I seem to know these days. And you know of course, writing real talk. Onto the tip.

How Should You Format A Dialogue Between Two Characters?

Tip number one – relationships matter. Do you talk to your significant other the same way that you talk to your grandmother? I would hope not. Most of us tend to change up our language, depending on who we’re talking to. You might get more respect to a professor, speak to them a little more formally than you would your best friend.

This is a part of getting to know your characters really well. How would they interact with one another can be a fun thing. Would one take the lead in a conversation, while the others follow? Or would one take the lead and then butt heads with another one.

Some personality types just don’t play well together and you need to welcome the idea of relationships influencing the way that your characters speak to one another because, let’s face it, we all do it. Ergo, your characters should do it.

How To Make A Dialogue Between Two Characters

Tip number two – give your characters a unique voice. We all have one, give them one too. If you’re a young adult reader like myself you might have read the beautiful creatures series. In it there’s a character named Blanc that is unlike any other character.

This is best seen through his dialogue. He uses no words that any other character were to use and he delivers them in a unique way. So without any dialogue tags or action tags you always know that it’s linked speaking. That’s what you want. You should totally try to do that.

We all have favorite words that we like to use or our own form of expletives when we stub our toe. Make a list of these things for each one of your characters. When you get stuck in their dialogue, you can just refer back to it for inspiration.

Tip number three – people aren’t perfect and neither is their dialogue. Have you ever watched a movie and you realize that the actors are delivering their lines a little too quickly? If you’ve been in drama you know what I’m talking about it. Sounds like they’re just waiting for the other actor to finish their lines so that they can dive into theirs.

How to write dialogue between two characters examplesEveryone needs time to think of a response and without it a conversation just doesn’t feel organic anymore. Writing dialogue is the same. Give your character some time to think every now and then. They’re arguing with another character, have them stammer and then slam something in frustration.

No one knows their lines ahead of time, so make sure your characters don’t either. Make their dialogue perfectly imperfect because that’s what it means to be human. And unless you have an alien race, you want your characters to sound human right? All right, on to some of the more technical stuff.

Tip number four – summaries can be a good thing sometimes. It’s easier to sum up the boring parts of conversation or to characters. Saying ‘hello’ to each other – don’t put it in dialogue, unless there’s something else going on there. You would have to force this type of dialogue to be interesting though.

So sometimes it’s a little better left to narrative, if you still really want to make it interesting. Here’s some examples. A meeting between two teenagers who both really like each other and they’re both nervous. One of them starts stuttering and then the other one thinks it’s cute.

Or a greeting between two people who can’t speak the same language. There’s some pretty obvious difficulties there. That would be good to point out in dialogue. How do you know when to put your dialogue into summary, though it’s nothing exciting really happening but you don’t want to cut that piece of dialogue. Is there back and forth between two characters that would give the reader whiplash? Try putting dialogue into summaries and seeing if it flows better.

Tip number five – tag, you’re it. I like to use deep point-of-view most of the time during my writing and one thing to avoid while doing so is dialog tags. I try my hardest to avoid dialog tags at all costs instead using action to show which character is speaking.

How to write a conversation between two characters guideYou do this so that the readers never pulled out of the story and you kind of become like the invisible author but sometimes this can have the opposite effect. Using an action might become what pulls the reader out of the story, if the wording is weird or just sticks out in a bad way.

In this case please use your tags responsibly. Don’t use redundant tags. Saying someone grunted after an “Oh” isn’t necessary. Don’t use tags that don’t make sense. People don’t sigh words, or gasp words. A physical non-speech related action should never be your dialogue tag.

Don’t be afraid to use ‘said’. Yes it’s simple but guess what? If you really need a dialogue tag ‘said’ blends in pretty well to your narrative. We’ve read so many books throughout our lives that ‘said’ has become more like ‘it’. We may read it 200 times in a chapter but we don’t realize it.

Tip number six – name drops. I am so guilty of this. When you’re talking to your best friend how often do you use their name? I can say that I never do. I say ‘girl’ before I say her name: “Girl, guess what happened”, so it would make sense if your characters that name drop with one another right?

Yes but I still find myself doing it all the time. Why? I think because sometimes I want to make it clear who’s speaking. In that case I go back and make sure my action tags are very clear. If I’m trying to add some drama to the scene by name dropping, I make sure I haven’t name drop, the same name in a while. If you do it a lot it gets a little less dramatic. Like okay, let’s be honest – a lot less. The next topic is all about editing.

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Tip number seven – remove the drab, cut it, all of it. Oh but not really. If you’re in the editing phase of your novel it’s time to spruce up your dialogue a little bit.

If you started a conversation between two people on the phone and you included all of the ‘hey how you doin’ and the ‘oh great, how’s the kids?’ stuff. then your readers probably gonna drop the book and run at stops. Boring, yes it may be how people talk in real life but you don’t include boring action into your novel do you?

I’m sorry but the same rule applies to boring dialogue. We’re just better off without it. Another drabaass thing to cut is information two characters wouldn’t really say to one another. These are things that are usually just for the benefit of the reader and are really not beneficial to anybody.

How to write dialogue in a script tips

If two characters know that eating myrrh berries makes you go to sleep for ages, don’t have them explain that to one another. They know. Instead, show someone’s flipping some to another character as a practical joke. the myrrh berries knock that character out and then you’re spared that awkward moment when point directly at your reader and explain things to them. Note – if no character in your novel has heard of myrrh berries but one has them, obviously makes sense to them to explain them.

Tip number eight – have someone read your story out loud. You might have heard that you should read your work out loud but for dialogue it’s particularly helpful if you actually have something else read it out loud.

You already know how the dialogue is supposed to sound, so sometimes you’ll just make it sound that way even if it doesn’t. Grab whoever you can grab and bribe them in whatever ways you need to so that you can get them to do this. Tell them to be goofy and to have fun with acting out the words.

Even if they read the dialogue without any embellishments, you’ll be able to see what words they place importance on. If they get stuck on a certain sentence and have to start over, mark that sentence down. Sometimes that means your wording sounds awkward.

Also try to listen for the balance between narrative and dialogue, any sentences that don’t sound realistic and choppy dialogue. This last one sometimes means that your characters unique voices aren’t coming through or the dialogue simply isn’t needed.

Tip number nine is a lot of tips and they’re all about grammar. Yay, grammar rules, at least I hope you think it does. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty here. I promise it’ll only take a minute.

When a new character starts to speak start a new line for them. We don’t want the reader to get confused. We stitch two lines of dialogue together. There’s no mad scientist Frankenstein dialogues allowed here. Punctuation always goes inside the quotation marks.

I remembered that my teachers always told me that the punctuation would fall off into this never-ending black hole of doom and I just never wanted that for my punctuation. Be kind and keep them from falling for eternity.

The UK uses single quotes for their dialogue, the US only uses single quotes. When we’re quoting something inside of something that’s already a quote, it’s quotation inception in your dialogue with a comma. If you’re using a dialogue tag, or with a full stop, like a period or an ellipsis for an exclamation mark. If you’re going to use an action tag, if someone’s cutting someone else off, you need to make sure you use an em-dash where they’re getting cut off.

And then again, if they resume their thought. For an example of that, make sure you check out my blog post on this topic down below. Alright, so that’s all I have for you guys today. I hope you found this video oh so helpful.

If you have any tips or tricks of your own for dialogue, make sure you put them in the comment section below so other people can see them. Be sure to subscribe to my channel because I post new writing videos every Wednesday. If you have any questions or suggestions be sure to tweet me at Vivian Reese.

How To Write Dialogue Between Two Characters

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How To Write Characters For Creative Fiction

Writing characters

Effective character development is not absolutely essential. If you read Greek mythology, those characters are minimally developed. We hardly know anything about them they. Don’t stand out as individuals. Someone can create a great story without working too much on exactly who their characters are and make them resemble as much as they can, real life, breathing, walking human beings.

But there is a great percentage of a potential audience that is interested in what is called three-dimensional characters. So there is a character that is described as flat, or there is a character that is described as three-dimensional, and we could spend a lifetime studying psychology –  psychology, psychiatry and sociology, writing down everything that we overhear people say, looking at them, trying to figure out why they do what they do, and it’s a fascinating journey.

There is no end to that exploration and anyone who embarks on studying people, and who they are, and why their inner workings, and why they do what they do, will discover things that no one else has discovered. As writers improving our character portrayals, it is a fascinating journey. Put yourself in the place of the fiction writer: you’re sitting down, you’re making up a new character and you have your story,  and before you is a character not developed at all.

My Favorite Technique for Fleshing-Out a Character – Creative Writing

Cy Porter – Youtube Channel



You have a name. You know what they’re going to do in the story. What can you do to bring that character from flat to three dimensional, besides, you know, brainstorming on their history, their family, their economic situation, their class, how they’re raised, how much money they have and their general opinions about the world – brainstorming on all those kind of things.

Here is a technique that I find just works magic on developing a character. I have this written down and I have it by my monitor. It is the difference between how they intentionally present themselves and how others see them. I found that when working this out, it is very different for each character that I work on.

How to create a character for a story

The reason I like using this technique is that it takes the vague problem of trying to flush out a three-dimensional character, to this puzzle that I can work out, and by working with this puzzle with each character, it really makes a lot of things fall into place. It flushes the character out and at the same time makes the character really fit in the story.

So I’ve learned when using this technique it is really helpful to decide ahead of time that we’re not we’re not going to stick with with the ideas that we brainstorm. Along these lines but they give us a stronger idea about who that character is. So if I try out the idea that the character dyes their hair, I may only be half into that idea but I’ll go ahead and brainstorm and write that down because it describes to me exactly what kind of character they are, in terms of how they would attempt to present themselves to others.

Here’s an example. I have a character who preys on other people, and not only that, her tactics, the way that that she does that, is to present herself as vulnerable. So the way that this describes is way that she intentionally presents herself. She presents herself as helpless but she wants to really make sure that others see her that way, and so she would present herself, make it much more obvious than most people would actually appear when they are in a situation where they’re helpless.

How to develop a character personalityBut they’re not intending to appear helpless, so this character will say and and do things that that are a little too obvious, or are a little, you know, for the characters in the story who read more into people, they definitely it would register with them. Maybe she’s just putting on an act. At the same time, it’s very important for her to get ready to to to take advantage of people in certain ways.

So I’m just going to make up some stuff, to give you an idea what I’m talking about, even though it isn’t what I’m actually doing with this character. She could have a gun hidden in her suitcase. The reader sees this but as you continue to present this character to the reader, there are, you know it, it seems like she sure does go out of her way to present herself as helpless, to a point where some of the readers will start to wonder about what her true intention is.

There’s a contradiction between those two. There’s a definite difference between these two. If you make a definite difference between how your character presents herself and who they actually are, making that difference distinct, there’s something about that that really appeals to the reader.

Exactly how you work out this formula really depends on the effect you want that character to have on the reader. In the example I gave I wanted to know if this is an antagonist, so I wanted to up the level of feeling of this character, you know, the potential harm to the protagonist. In real life we feel very engaged when we meet people and can notice the separation between the things they do to present themselves as a certain kind of person and we have evidence of who they really are.

The difference between these two compels us in society. This is one of those things that captures our attention and makes us interested in our socializing, and we can have the same effect with our characters.

In fiction creative choices, we can decide how artificial this presentation is or how authentic seeming it is. How obnoxious it is or how subtle it is. Everyone works on the social mask. Everyone develops their social identity that is kind of there on the surface of the deeper levels of who they are. There’s no escaping it and there’s nothing wrong about it either.

It’s just kind of another reality of being human. If you wear clothes, you’re putting on some kind of uniform. You’re putting on some kind of identity, and it it’s not a falsehood. You know, think about it. You know, if you’re going to go work in an office, you’ll put on office clothes. It’s a way of communicating with people, so that they know how to relate to you.

Creating characters bookIf you’re going to work in an art gallery, you’re going to wear clothes that are expressive, so that when you meet people, they get an idea about how are you, how they want to see, how you’re going to talk with them, what kind of things you and they are going to talk about, what kind of life you want to live, so there is a lot of necessity and sincerity in your your social mask.

But this is this is also something that plays into who we want to be and who we actually are, where we want to go, and and where we come from, and so this is one of those kernels of the human condition that can make for compelling characters.

As an exercise you can find one person each day or each week to journal about, and write down what are they intentionally doing, what are they consciously doing to present themselves in a certain way, and who is it that they want to define for the onlooker. Who they are, what title are they giving themselves, what what kind of character do they want to be treated as, and then from there creatively come up with things that are distinct that are definitely different.

If you’re ever concerned about your characters being too flat, try it with each of your characters. Only spend an hour on each character. Find your favorite character in your story and write down ‘how did they consciously present themselves?’ How does the world see them and make sure that you do it creatively.

Novel character development worksheet

Whatever first comes to your mind. It doesn’t have to be what you stay with, but it’ll trigger your creative thinking, and it’ll flush out your character. Remember – the goal is to find creative and fun ways to flush out your character. You don’t need to do an exhaustive study of each character and really give the character as much flushing out time for for the time that they actually appear in the story.

For four characters that she’ll want to say one thing, and then they’re gone. In the next, they can be totally flat characters. They can be ‘here is the baker’, ‘here is the the bus driver’ and move on from there. Now try to work with this technique in a way so that you’re having fun. Don’t make it such a big deal.

Just try it out. Say ‘ I’ll try this for 10 minutes and brainstorm’, and if you’re having fun, your reader will be more engaged in your writing in the long run, because if you’re having fun that means that you might discover a new interesting contrast between these two points of character.

Create a character for a book onlineYour reader will be interested in that contrast. Now I guarantee you, if you come up with with one of these that really works, well, the contrast between intended impression and actual impression it is going to be something that is going to give you a lot of power over how you can present that character, and and the way they’re going to react him in all the different situations that you put them, in so again this turns out to be a very effective tool.

An example – it could be how they feel they should act and how they actually want to act. It could be presenting themselves because of the social situations that there is about. People don’t just write what they say and do, and leave it in that. Fine, this is a lens through which to study them and find the formulas of their behavior.

This is a great way to look at the people around you, and you can really get an idea about about what the true trajectory of their life will be like. You can get a good sense of how they’ll react in different situations and really understand why they say things that could seem totally random otherwise.

So I hope this is helpful for your fiction writing. Please take the time to check out the story I’m working on at and also vote to get me to make more of these tutorials, by hitting the like button. Leave a comment. Let the other viewers know if this triggered an idea that you thought is along the lines of what the video discussed.

How to create a character for a storyLeave a comment so that other viewers can read. Subscribe please. Tell other writers that you know about about these videos, if you find them helpful. I hope you’re writing goes very well and I hope you have a good day. This is a quick side note because as an artist, we can all use more motivation to get into doing our artwork.

However you’re going to spend your day today will send ripples into your future, so no matter what you’re doing recognize that you’re not just doing that activity in the moment, you’re also sending these ripples out about the way the rest of your life is going to be.

Through your action, you are determining what the rest of your life will be like, and if you have a great day, you send out only a few ripples but if you pile them up,if you do this on a daily basis you can continue to reinforce it and it has a greater and greater and greater effect that builds up.

Humans are the most the most highly adaptive animals. We are able to rapidly and very effectively adapt to any environment. The environment you’re at, the activity or engaged in, is a big part of your environment. When you sit down to do your artwork, you begin adapting to that activity, so in the future you’re going to find it easier to do artwork. You’re going to find yourself getting better and better at it.

Developing Great Characters – Cy Porter

How To Plot A Novel – Plotter Or Pantser?

How To Plot A Novel -Featured

The debate goes on – how to plot a novel for success? Plotters tend to stick to a formula, to make sure that all the story elements are in place, while Pantsers say that it stifles creativity.

As with most points of view, there is merit in both sides of the argument and it also depends on the writer’s personality. Some say that they can’t even write the first line until they know what the last line of their novel is. Others say they like the thrill of not knowing where the story is going or what the characters are going to do.

I secretly think that there’s an element of both in all of us, both in life and when we write. Of course we want an exciting ride, but it’s also nice to know where the train is going, at least the general direction!

In the video below Mandi Lynn interviews Brittany Wang, fantasy author, about here approach to writing her stories.

How To Plot Your Novel – Some Tips For Beginners

Hello everyone, my name is Mandi Lynn. I’m the author of the fantasy novels, Essence, I am Mercy, and thriller novel, She’s Not Here, as well as the creator of AuthorTube Academy.

Today I have a special guest, Brittany Wang. Would you like to introduce yourself?

– Yes, hi guys, I’m Brittany Wang. I am an author of an upcoming YA fairy fantasy series, and I also have an AuthorTube channel and I also host a Facebook group called The Plotter Life Writers Facebook Group. We have about 300 members and it’s been so fun to collaborate there. So thanks for having me on your channel.

– Oh absolutely, and she also has an awesome Instagram that you should check out as well.

– Thank you.

How to plot a novel - plotter vs pantser– So today we discovered that I’m a pantser and she’s a plotter, so we’ve been doing some fun interviews so if you wanna hear an interview of her asking me all these questions about being a pantser, head over to her channel.

I will have a link to that video down below. But today, I’m gonna be interviewing Brittany about how she is a plotter and how that may work. Because I don’t know what that life is like. (intense music) So for those of you who don’t know, a plotter is someone who sits back and plots the whole novel before they start writing.

A pantser is just someone who just goes for it, which is what I do. (laughing) So, Brittany, why do you plot your book?

– Ah, okay, well I’m a person who love, we were talking about this on the other video, but like I love to have a plan. I just feel more secure (laughing) having a plan, but I also really love studying story structure and really understanding why stories work.


And with that, I really also enjoy just like the story of transformation, which is a lotta stories, and when I’m thinking about where I wanna take a story or even like the theme of a story, I wanna be like really purposeful about that. And you can definitely do that while you’re pantsing as well, but it’s hard for me to do that without a plan.


So I love to like sort of use story beats and just like a basic novel outline to figure out okay where am I going, even if that changes later, I love to at least have a direction. And then when I feel like I have that direction, I feel like I can sort of just fill in the holes from there and do that.

– How do you plot your novel technique-wise? Like do you have a certain way you go about plotting your novel?

How to plot a mystery novel tips– I’ve tried a bunch of different ways and I don’t know that I have a specific way yet, and again this is my first novel, so as we were talking about before, it could change from book to book. But right now I’ve tried Scrivener, but I really just like using a Word document.


I love sort of writing down all my ideas, maybe I’ll do that first on a piece of paper, but then I’ll start seeing connections and I’ll start seeing those story beats sorta pop up, like oh this is the inciting incident or this is the ending or this is the midpoint.


And then I’ll start organizing that on like a Word document. And then I also really loved when I started using a story bible or a novel bible, series bible, whatever you wanna call it, and I have a video about that.


But it just sorta takes each character profile, and I’m doing fantasy, so that’s a whole nother thing where you’re trying to do the world-building, and I love to wrap the world-building into the story, make that really purposeful, so I love brainstorming within that, even if it’s not in story form, within like those templates and then figuring out how do these things mesh into the story.


So between the outline and the series bible, those are like my main forms of plotting right now.

– I love the series bible, by the way.

– Oh good.

– Almost part of me wants to do it, even though I’m not a plotter. (laughing)

– You could it for editing too.

– That’s true, that’s true.

– Yeah yeah yeah.

– You can do that for editing.

– Right so you could even, whatever part of the process.

– Now we have Catio – Yes.

– Okay so since you’re a plotter, do you feel like the quality of the first draft is better?

Plot a novel template– Again I have nothing to compare it to personally, but I will say that when I’ve shown the first few chapters to some of my CPs, and they have said, hey, this actually feels more like a third draft or second or third draft, and I, yeah I think that it’s because I’m already like setting things up, I’m already able to like foreshadow certain things.


That being said, that particular draft was like, I did like a really rough like, I think for Camp NaNo, and that was like terrible. (laughing) So I wouldn’t show any of that to anyone. But it was just like I would speed through with the basic outline and then I was like, okay, now I’m gonna go back through.


So yeah, but they said that it felt like pretty strong, and I’m really happy with it, but there are also some drawbacks to that which we’ll talk, I’m sure we’ll talk about. (laughing)

– Now if you didn’t write fantasy, do you feel like you would still need like that plotted outline?

– Yeah, I feel like yeah, with fantasy, you do have like a lot of world-building that you’re trying to do, but I feel like with any story I would tell, even if it’s contemporary, like I would wanna do research about if it’s a real place or if I’m doing like a sci-fi or dystopian, like I’d wanna figure out like where am I (laughing) generally you know and try to pull some of those things in.


So I think for me, I might do a little less plotting, but I think generally naturally I would still go for some plotting. (laughing)

– You would need to.

– I would have fun with it, I can’t help it. The only other thing I would add is that doing like the plotting, and not just the plotting, but like research, so I didn’t get to ask you this in the other video, but like about how much research do you do, because even for like She’s Not Here, I know like you have some knowledge already previous to like where you work, but also do, did you do a lot of research? And for me I feel like I learn a lot during the research and it instructs my plotting.

– Right.

– So I don’t know if you wanted to add anything from that, but I just felt like that was, (laughing) it’s helpful for my plotting.

– Yeah, so working off the last question, do you feel like you have an easier time with draft two when it comes to the editing process? Do you reference your outline when you’re doing draft two?

How to plot a romance novel advice– Yes, I reference the outline and the draft. Right now I’m taking, I did a fast read-through of the first draft, and I took notes, even though I had an outline, there will still things that I pantsed as I was going. So it’s not like I’m plotting every single scene or every single moment or piece of dialogue.


It’s more just getting that picture and like that progression and any specific things I know I want in it, but then like yeah, there were definitely areas where I pantsed and I was like, oh I found out about this character, I found out more about this part of the world.


And so now I’m taking those like little markings in the draft and putting them into a Word document (laughing) which I just showed on my Instagram Stories, I might do another video about, but where I’m then transferring all of those notes and that will then change the outline.

– Right.

– Right now, so here’s one of the downsides, is that I think there are certain critical things in my last outline that will change based on this first draft, based on some of the pantsing that did happen, and some of the things that like didn’t, like I didn’t write as well as I thought I would, like I’m not completely happy with the ending that I plotted, even though it sounded really strong in the outline, it didn’t end up being super strong, hi. (laughing)


And so with that, like you can be as prepared as you can, but you can still end up having to trash a lot or having to rewrite a lot. For me I still feel better about having the plotting ahead of time, but that can be the downside.

– Just laughing. (laughing) Okay is this what we’re doing now? (laughing)

– She likes the book, no he.

– I’m sorry, he likes the books too. (laughing) Oh really likes the book. (laughing)

– Little destructive, okay, you can sit there, why not. All right, just get a little cat booty in the video. (book thumping) Oh thanks. – I want him, I want the attention.

– You can be the star now I guess. (laughing) Okay, (laughing) would you be able to pants a novel if you had to? Do you think you could do it?

– You mean if I had like a gun to my head? (laughing)

– If I told you, you have to write this novel but you’re not allowed to outline it, would you be able to?

How to plot your novel step by step– I think I’d be able to. You know I’ve definitely done like some microfiction, like we were talking about flash fiction earlier, and I feel like yeah I could, I could probably do it in shorter spurts. But I feel like it would be really hard (laughing) to like, I would get into like a certain amount of chapters, then I would be like, ooh and then this thing and then, I sorta wanna write this down and like chronicle a little bit and like brainstorm a little bit to get there.


But if I had to, (laughing) I would, it would probably just take me awhile.

– Yeah. (laughing) If you had a gun to your head.

– Right, all right, which plotting still takes awhile, like I was plotting for months before I even wrote any like real words or any real pages. So that’s another downside, like sometimes you might get out like a full draft like sooner than like a plotter would.

– Right.

– So yeah, there’s that.

– So that was one of my next questions was how long it did take to plot a novel. But with that said, since you kinda sorta answered it, feel free to digest more if you’d like. But with that in mind, once you have the novel plotted, how long does it take to actually write it?

– Okay, well, so the current story that I’m working on, the seedling of the idea I like to say started in like middle school.


So I wrote like a 7,000 word, which actually, I might have pantsed that a little bit, I have, I can’t remember. But it was a complete story, and then, now that I’m like sorta getting really back into writing and like have this like trajectory of like I’m gonna publish this book, I really started getting serious about it like in January, and then I was plotting up until like the first Camp NaNo.


So that was like April. And then I tried to write the first like really messy draft (laughing) and I didn’t, I reached the end, but there were so many scenes that I didn’t even write because I was like I don’t even know what’s going on here.


And then I did more plotting between then and the next Camp NaNo and I tried to write the next draft, which I only got like 25,000 words, but it was something. (laughing) And then I had a goal throughout the summer to get the first real draft done by the end of August, which I did.


So that’s sort of the timeline, but even before then, there was more like plotting even before January that was like sprinkled. But once I got serious, it did take, what is that, like four or five months, somewhere around there, to get to a place where I was like okay, I feel comfortable diving in now. (laughing)

– Is there anything else you would like to add?

– I would just say that if you have pantsed your whole life and you really haven’t done any kind of plotting, I would just say to like try, just like you know there’s so many videos out there, especially if you’re struggling. If you’re not struggling, why mess up something that isn’t broken, right?


But if you’re having some struggles with it, there’s so many different forms of plotting, there’s so many different forms of outlining or approaches, and some of them are like really general and simple and you could do really quickly and some of them like take forever, like my process. (laughing)


SAo yeah, so I would just say that it’s something, especially to strengthen your idea or understanding of story structure to study that a little bit and even if you just have it in your head, then that helps produce I think a stronger story from the beginning.

– Thank you for joining us today in this discussion of plotting a novel. Thank you to Brittany Wang for joining. Be sure to check out her video down below so you can see her interview me on pantsing. Which one is superior?

Let us know in the comments down below. Give us your vote and say what you are and which one you think is better. Otherwise, that is it for today’s video. Be sure to give it a thumbs up, comment down below, and subscribe.

How To Plot A Novel Advice


How To Write A Short Film Script – Tips

How To Write A Short Movie Script Fast

I posted two videos for this post, presenting ideas from two different kinds of movie professionals. The first delivers 10 tips for writing a short film script based on a budget of ‘zero’, or at least, very little. Mark Hertzler makes some very good points, the biggest one being the fact that, if you are the writer AND film-maker, then what you write is directly affected by your resources.

Basically, you try to make do with whatever you have at hand and really cut down on the expenses. It sounds a bit lame, but some of the best award-winning short movies were made with a seriously short budget, so the process is not to be scoffed at.

Interesting enough, although the second video is promoting a film writing course, it touches on the same points, namely, if your film script would be very costly for the producer, it won’t get made – period! Expensive casts of thousands, fantasy science fiction, weird costumes and exotic locations are out.

I like the look of the course he proposes, but seriously – $47 a month for beginning writers is a bit too salty, at least in my view. By far the most interesting proposal I’ve seen for help with screenwriting comes form a script writer called James Lamberg and the course is called ‘Movie In A Month’.

How to write a movie script for a short film - MovieInAMonthCourse-728x90Static

He’s the guy you’ve never heard of but is responsible for over 30 commercially successful movie scripts, and his testimonials are phenomenal. He’s also got he best guarantee on the net – write and sell a movie script within 12 months or your money back. ‘Nuff said.

On with the next reel – 10 Tips For Writing A No-Budget Short Movie.

Video Transcript:

Hello and welcome to the debut episode of the screenwriters show. I’m your host Mark Hertzler. Now seeing as this at the very first episode, let me tell you a little bit about the show. Like you probably are yourself, I’m an aspiring screenwriter and I’ve written dozens of screenplays from shorts, feature-length, TV and everything in between.

I’m also a film major at a CSU university. I’ve always been a fan of the film shows around YouTube and while some of these cover segments on screenwriting. There’s no one definitive channel for all your screenwriting needs and that is what I’m trying to set out to remedy.

We’ll be doing regular episodes with screenwriting tutorials like the one today, as well as vlogs and script reviews. Now that we got that out the way, let’s jump into the very first episode and it’s my 10 tips on ‘How to write a no budget short film script’.

Number one is working with what you got and whether that’s a location that you have access to that someone might not have access to or a prop or a special costume. You’re gonna want to take advantage of what you already have.

How do you write a short film script?

Somehow write it in your script, whether it’s for scene or you can even base your entire script around a location or property you hve access to. Not only is this a very good prompt and basis to start your screenplay but it’s also gonna add a lot of production value for zero cost to you. For example, I used to work on a movie theater that was allowed to film app so I worked that into four of my scripts.

Number two is find your budget. I would define a no budget film anywhere from zero to about a thousand dollars and you might think that kind of sounds like a lot, but the reality is that you’re at least gonna have to pay for food for every single person on set per day.

Knowing your budget is essential because if you have a little extra dough you can have a little more leeway and maybe write in a couple props that you wouldn’t normally write in. For a true zero budget film, if you have no budget at all, you’re not gonna want to write in anything extra at all. Everything needs to be something you already have access to. So what this will do is, it will set the parameters of what you can and cannot write.

Number three is write to your skills. Just like you might have access to a special location, you also might have a certain skill set that can aid in the production process.

For example, if your visual effects, by all means you should write that into your script, because that way you’re gonna add a lot of production value to the end product with zero costs to the production.

Number four is use screenwriting software. And this might seem like a no-brainer to some of you more experienced screenwriters out there, but for directors and other filmmakers who are kind of just dipping into the screenwriting process to make an end product I found that this is actually kind of a problem among beginning directors.

People don’t want the hassle of formatting a script because it’s a little bit alien to them and it seems like a lot of work but in reality there are free software’s you can get like Celtx which I’ll leave a link in the info box below. They can do all the work for you.

What this will do is, it will help you break down your script and see how long production is going to be, how many characters you have, how many scenes you have, etc, etc and it’ll just help you a lot in the production process as well as the writing process.

Short Movie Scripts

Number five is hook the viewer within 30 seconds or half a page or so. Now this might seem like something that’s really hard to do but all you need to do is set up some sort of conflict or mystery within the first half a page or so.

This can be something as simple as an argument between two characters, some sort of mystery item or situation or setting that the character is within, or can be just any old hook that’s gonna get your audience or readers interested within the first page.

Number six is keep it as short as literally possible. This is really important for the no-budget screenplay because every minute or page of screenplay is gonna run you more production costs, so keeping it 5 pages or under is gonna give you your best bet to keep that budget down closer to zero.

Number seven is, unless you’re writing comedy, try to keep dialogue to a minimum. I say this because action-oriented screenwriting is going to be a lot more effective and communicate something to your audience in a fraction amount of the time that dialogue would.

Let’s say for example, guy likes a girl and he talks to his friend for about a page of dialogue explaining why he likes this girl, how they met, what he knows about her. You can do all of this and a fraction about the time if you use an action oriented scene by having this guy maybe make extended eye contact with the girl.

He gets nervous around her when she walks by or comes talks to him. A lot of people struggle with this and think that you absolutely need dialogue in your screenplay in order for it to work good. Good practice for this – if you’re one of those people – is to write a 1 to 3 page screenplay with absolutely zero dialogue and that will help you practice storytelling techniques without dialogue and also prove to you that you can tell a story without dialogue.

how to write a short movie scriptNumber eight is limit your characters and locations. You want as few characters as possible to keep the cast low and to keep that food money cost bound. And as little locations as you can have because that will also run you more gas and production days, etc.

For example, I just wrote a no budget or low budget film for a production company and I was given the rules that the cast has to be three to four characters max, and use locations around a certain part of a city. Combine characters when possible, cut locations when possible.

Number nine is avoid cliches, and by cliches I’m talking about themes like characters getting ready for their day at work or just their general day by getting breakfast and showering etc. And also certain genres like the zombie genre, the drug deal gone bad cliche, Tarantino kind of copy.

I say this because this is pretty much a go-to for any beginning filmmaker and people in the industry are really wary of these types of films. Now I’m not trying to bash anyone here with this because I can say from personal experience three out of five of my first screenplays were actually one of these cliches I just mentioned.

But while I’d say if you have to write one of these genres, just because you have a calling for it, either one, make sure it’s a fresh and original take on this or cliche. Write the screenplay, get it out of your system then do another screenplay and then film that second screenplay.

Number 10 is avoid sci-fi and fantasy. I say this because generally these two genres are gonna have a much larger budget than other genres would. It’d cost you a lot of props, costumes, set-piece and other sort of costs to your productions.

Alright, that’s a wrap on the debut episode of the Screenwriter Show. Remember to like and subscribe and keep updated for more videos coming soon. I also have some suggested watching of my favorite no budget short films – I’ll leave them in the info box below, as well as one of my scripts and a book on no budget film-making.

How To Write A Short Movie Script On A Budget PDF

Writing Movie Scripts That Sell

Video Transcript:

Okay, so let’s say you’ve got an idea for a movie. Now in order for that idea to actually become a movie it has to go through two major stages. First you have to turn the idea into a screenplay and then second, we have to turn the screenplay into a film.

Now the writer manages that first stage but it’s the producer who manages the second stage. So as the writer you need to make sure you’re writing screenplays producers can actually use, otherwise you just end up writing for your bookshelf.

Now my name is Jeff Paolo and as an independent producer based in Sydney Australia I spent over 10 years searching for screenplays to produce. In that time my production company received over 15,000 submissions from across Australia and around the world and what I discovered was that 99% of them were literally unusable.

And not just by me but by any production company. We’re talking about thousands of writers spending months or years working on screenplays producers can’t even use and producers around the world digging through mountains of submissions and coming up empty-handed.

That’s a lot of people spending a lot of time getting nowhere. So to try to solve this problem we decided to bridge the gap. What if there was a clear path from the idea in your head all the way through the entire process? A complete and comprehensive, step-by-step system for turning any idea into a compelling original screenplay producers could actually use and then get that screenplay into the producers hands not.

How long to write a short scriptJust another screenwriting course but a screenplay development system where each step builds organically into the next, because here’s the thing – it doesn’t matter if you’re writing a big Hollywood blockbuster or an Australian indie or a European arthouse film or even a micro budget movie – you’re going to shoot in your own backyard to go from idea to the screenplay.

The process is always the same. I’ll prove it to you. You’ve got an idea for a movie so what do we do now? How do we go from idea to the page? Well let’s walk through it. First you have to explore your ideas and focus them into a story, such as with an outline.

Then you have to apply that story to the page by writing a first draft. Then you have to strengthen that story by rewriting, to fix any holes and make sure it’s effective. And then finally, you have to tweak the words on the page to engage the reader and pull them through your story, so that when someone picks up your screenplay they see your idea as a movie experience.

Well guess what? It doesn’t matter where you are, or what you want to write, or what level you’re at. Every writer must go through these four phases. That’s how we get from idea to the screenplay. The only problem is that that doesn’t actually guarantee a screenplay producers could really use.

Because screenwriting isn’t just about the writing. You also have to connect with that producer who’s going to turn your screenplay into a film and the only way that’s going to happen is if you’re aligned with them. If your idea your screenplay is something they want to make, and something they can make, so before you even start this process you need to understand what producers actually need in a screenplay and why they need these things.

So that you’re set up to create screenplays any producer could actually use and then once you’re finished with the process you need to be able to use notes and feedback to reshape your script, if necessary, to align with the exact needs of any specific producer.

How to write a short film script

Because that’s when you’ll have a production ready screenplay producers can actually use but ultimately even that is destined for your bookshelf unless you complete the process and connect with the producer who’s perfect for your project.

By capturing their attention, drawing in and making the deal because that’s the payoff of the writers stage of this complete process. You know ultimately there’s no one right way to tell a story. There’s no single formula that’s going to work for every idea in every situation.

Each writer and every project are intrinsically unique but if you think about it, the process is always the same and that’s why to bridge that gap between writer and producer we turn the process into a system. We called it Fast Screenplay.

What we did basically was reverse-engineer the complete screenwriting process from the producers perspective, so that each step guides you directly to the sale. We took everything you need to know every skill you need to master and every action you need to take and we carefully mapped it out into a clear path.

All in all it’s pretty simple. Everyday you simply log on to the website from anywhere in the world and get the next step. As you complete each step, you make your way through the process. Through every phase, every movement and every detail.

Short movie script writingIf you want you can interact with other writers from around the world, or do your own thing in your own space, in your own time – it’s entirely up to you. Because you know, what as long as movies are made producers, will need fresh original screenplays.

Right now technology is opening up unprecedented opportunities for writers and filmmakers around the world, but the one thing technology can’t do is, it can’t put your idea on the page. Only you can do that take action daily. Do one step at a time and keep moving forward through the complete process. Join Fast Screenplay today and we’ll make sure you do. Thank you.


How To Write A Novel Outline – Writing A Book Outline

How To Outline A Story Or Novel

For this post, I chose a video that explains how to outline a story. Some authors miss out on this important step and try to just write by the seat of their pants. It can work (John Grisham did it) but for most of us mere mortal writers, planning the structure of our novel with a clear outline is vital to it’s flow and success.

How To Outline A Story – 3 Acts : 9 Blocks : 27 Chapters

Hello – different kind of video today. This is a computer screen recording, so I didn’t have to brush my hair, and you guys don’t have to look at me. Win-win! I’m going to outline my NaNoWriMo novel later today and I wanted to do a quick run-through of my outlining process beforehand, so I don’t have to try to explain it whilst outlining.

How To Outline A Story pdf

I did a video like this last year that is called ‘9 blocks in the plot board’ or something along those lines and it goes over all this stuff. I wanted to do an updated, more coherent version so I made a slideshow presentation. Now I will talk you guys through the three-act, 9 block 27 chapter, outlining process that I’ve been using to outline all of my novels lately.

I did not invent story structure and I make no claims that this is the best and/or only way to outline. This is one of many different methods and this method is still like a work in progress. If you want to use this 27 chapter structure, that would be awesome.

I hope you let me know how it works for you and if you have any ideas for changes or refining certain points. Definitely let me know because, like I said, this is still a work in progress and I’m still trying to figure this thing out. So 3 act structure is the base of this. I like 3 act structure because it makes a lot of sense to me.

You know, beginning, middle, end – straightforward. It’s also familiar because you know most things in life have a beginning, a middle and an end. In writing a three-act structure, the beginning, middle, and end translates into setup, conflict, resolution. The first act is setup, the second act is conflict, and the third act is resolution, but it also goes deeper.

Dialogue Writing and More - Teachable Course Bundle

Each act will also have its own set up, conflict and resolution, and this pattern of set up, conflict, resolution will constantly appear. Each arc within the story will have a set up, a conflict, resolution. Each chapter, each scene beginning, middle, end – set up, conflict, resolution.

Act one is the set up act. The general point of act 1 is to set up everything for the rest of the story but within act one, this set of act there is, of course, a beginning, a middle, and an end. The setup to Act one is introducing the hero, the hero’s ordinary world and the problem that will disrupt the hero’s ordinary world.

The conflict is how the inciting incident changes the hero’s life. The resolution to this setup and concept combination, is that the hero’s life has changed and the hero is pushed into a new world. Act two is the conflict Act. This act is usually harder to pin down and describe because it will change drastically for every story you know.

Introductions are straightforward. You introduce what you’ll be working with. Endings are also pretty straightforward. You need to resolve everything you introduced from the beginning. If the first act is the stuff happening to the hero, and the last act is the hero taking action and resolving the story, then the middle is the hero’s emotional and mental transformation.

The hero at the end of act 1 is not yet equipped to handle act 3, thus act 2. Within act 2 we of course have a set up, a conflict and a resolution. The set up is the hero experiencing the new world they were pushed into from the first act.

The conflict is the hero experiencing a crisis of this new world and evolving and changing. The resolution of the second act is the hero being transformed and dedicating themselves to finding the solution to the problems they face.

The third act is where everything falls apart and goes to hell and gets put back together again. In the first act, you introduce the problems. In the second act you play around with the problems, and in the final act you resolve those problems. The setup of the third act is, you have a dedicated transform hero who faces such crazy problems that victory seems impossible.

The conflict of this act is the hero working harder than ever to overcome these struggles and find the power within themselves to take action and complete their story. And finally, the resolution is the solution to all this. In many stories this means the hero goes to battle, wins and thus resolves all of their problems.

Obviously, not every story is the hero winning and succeeding, but even if the hero fails, the problems must still be resolved. Most, if not all the questions still need to be answered. I’m personally a happy ending kind of girl, so I don’t really have much experience with failing hero resolutions. In my version the hero wins – hooray, go hero!

how to outline a short storyNow we have three acts and three parts within each of those acts and that leaves us with what I call the nine blocks. The first act has introductions, the effect of the inciting incident and the pinch or the plot twist, and the push into the second act.

The second act has the hero experiencing the new world which contrasts with their old world. The midpoint, which is the point of reversal for the hero, the point where they stop letting things happen to them and decide to take action.

Then the hero beginning to take action and dedicating themselves to finding a solution. Then in the third act we have the second plot twist pinch. The hero is more determined than ever but then something bigger than ever gets in the way to deter them. This leads to the darkest moment where things look bleak and impossible.

The hero must find the power within themselves take action and make all the different strings of plot converge and combine. Then you have the big battle the climax in the resolution. These are the nine blocks. Now I take the nine blocks and give each of those a beginning, middle and end, and that is how I end up with a 20-7 chapter outline base.

how to outline a story or novelThe act one set a block is the introduction, the inciting incident and the immediate reaction of the inciting incident. The second block is divided into chapters, of like a long term reaction how this will continually affect the hero’s life. The hero taking action because this far just stuff has been happening to them and begging to stand up for themselves.

Then of course there is a consequence to taking action. For the third block of act one we have rising pressure and stress the hero’s life is changing. Change is scary and then – BAM – the first plot twist or the pinch. Something happens that the hero can no longer ignore or even try to ignore. They are being pushed into this new direction whether they like it or not.

Act two block. This block I feel has the most room for flexibility. You want to cover the introduction into the New World, contrast with the old world and give the hero some time for fun and games and playing around in this new world. If it’s like a new romantic relationship, for example, then this block could be the lovers getting to know each other.

But maybe they have conflicting opinions on something, and they have to make compromises, which is different from how they lived in their old life. The second block is the build-up to the midpoint. The midpoint itself and the reversal, what the midpoint most dramatically and immediately changes for the hero.

how to plan out a novelThe final block of this act is the hero reacting to this change in themselves and deciding to put on their hero hat and take action, dedicating themselves to solving the problem at hand. No matter what in the third act the hero experiences, trials unlike anything they’ve dealt with before. Good thing they are so dedicated now after the midpoint, because a weaker version of the hero would not survive this part of the story.

They are put through trials, they experience another plot twist that makes things even worse and they find themselves in the darkest moment. Things look bleak. Victory is impossible but then they pull themselves together, find the power within and take action because now they are determined. Things can’t get any worse and they can only go up from here.

The hero takes action and now they are the one making stuff happen. The action the hero takes forces the plot to converge and gather and then the explosions happen. In the last block of the last act we have the battle struggle, the final fight the hero must overcome. We have the climax, the point of no return and then we have the resolution.

What happens after the climax? What is the aftermath? What is the falling action? The story is wrapped up, maybe with a few loose string,s maybe with a pretty little bow but either way there is a satisfying battle and a resolution to bring about the end of the story. And there we have it. This is the outline I use; 3 X 9 blocks 27 chapters.

Sometimes chapters get combined or split out, but I use these 27 points as a guide for 27 story events that push the plot forward. Try to make it pretty open-ended and a lot of the time I will twist it a bit to fit better to the story, rather than the other way around of twisting my story to fit the outline. The structure is like a skeleton for the story but it’s not supposed to be something really prominent.

how to plan writing a bookWhen you’re talking to a living, breathing, smiling, laughing person, you aren’t thinking about their skeletal structure underneath. At least, you’re probably not because that’s a little weird, but hey no judgement here people.

Books have souls and personalities, and life. The structure is just the foundation it gives it a bit of shape but what you put on that skeleton is not always restricted to this shape.

A lot of people have similar skeletons but that doesn’t mean those people are anything alike. A quiet literary novel could be built off this outline, as well as a dynamic explosive thriller. This is just a foundation on which to build your story up, and there are lots of different structures.

In my version of the three act structure, all the acts are the same length but sometimes the middle act is 50% of the story and the first and third each get 25 percent. Sometimes the acts are broken up in different places. I’ve seen a couple of story outlines where the second plot twist is at the end of the second act not at the beginning of the third act like I do it.

There are just so many different ways to structure story and this is just one of them, so yeah . I hope you enjoyed this video I hope I made at least some sense. Again, I’m not a professional at anything. I would love to hear your thoughts though.

What do you think of the structure? Would you ever use something like this to outline, or what structure do you prefer to use? Now I am going to outline my NaNoWriMo novel using this 27 chapter, structure of course. Good luck with all of your writing and outlining endeavours. I’ll have a new video up soon – I hope you have a good night.

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Ideas For Writing A Book – Author’s Inspiration

How To Find Book Ideas

There’s oodles of advice on the internet and elsewhere about planning a novel’s structure and analysing everything from plot to characters,  but where does the original idea for writing a book come from? Does it arrive in a flash of inspiration or the result of hard work and brainstorming?

By all accounts, it seems to be a combination of both – this is the real world folks, nothing is black or white! The good news is that the process doesn’t have to be one way or the other. The craft of writing adapts nicely to every author’s whim.

Personally, I think the first seed of the idea does indeed come in a flash, which is then finely tuned by asking those ‘what if’ questions around that first basic scrap of inspiration. A famous author once said:

‘Inspiration is for amateurs. Professionals get to work!’

It sounds a bit brutal, but that’s about the size of it. Once you think about a possible idea that just might grow into a great book, you need to work on it, organise your thoughts and approach it like a boss.

How To Get Ideas For Writing A Book – One Author’s Perspective

Alice Ozeman

Video transcript:

Hello everyone. I’ve decided as some of you may know to start a little series on my Youtube channel called ‘How to write a book’, (remembering that there isn’t one way to write a book) and essentially everything I say you can actually ignore, because you can just do what you want!

I get a lot of questions about writing books because I’m an author. I’ve written two books. I got published and I was quite young, and people starting writing, just want a bit of advice and I thought I could just address like every little part of writing a book in just a series of videos.

A simple series of videos definitely not, so when I keep getting asked the same questions I can just link them to videos instead of having to explain the same thing over and over again. On Tumblr a question I get asked a lot is ‘how do I come up with ideas?’ and that’s like the very first point you will be at before starting a book, especially if you want to write a book but you just don’t have an idea.

I mean, sometimes you have the idea at first and you’ll be like ‘that would be a good idea for a book’ I’m going to go write bit but sometimes a lot the time you just feel like I want to write something but you don’t have any ideas. So I’m gonna talk a little bit about coming up with ideas.

Book Writing Coach Lisa TenerThis is a whiteboard. Yes, I have a whiteboard. You know, just seeing and talking on YouTube is fine but is anyone else, like, obsessed with whiteboards? I actually love whiteboards. Every moment in school when I got to write on the whiteboard just made my day.

I just made this word, I mean I’ve had a real thing about this, and I think there are three main things that you need to consider if you want to try and come up with an idea. The first one, which apparently is red, and I have three colors for the three different things.

I know this is ‘Wow’, this is YouTube to the max everyone. The first thing that you should consider is inspiration. Gonna write it down. Sorry about – my oh god! I just forgot how to spell. Okay, so satisfying, sound inspiration when you’re coming up with ideas, only if you can’t come up with ideas.

If you don’t have any ideas, you want to try and get inspired by something, because the thing is about ideas is that there’s no such thing as an original idea. Every single idea you have will be influenced by things that you have seen in your life.

Anything from things have happened to you, people you’ve met, things that you’ve done, TV shows you’ve seen – literally anything that you have experienced in your life that is going to influence the ideas that you have.

And that’s why originality doesn’t exist. Yeah, it can be quite hard to find inspiration because inspiration in its nature tends to be quite a spontaneous thing. It tends to be this moment of, like, I’m inspired, rather than you like you can’t just force it to happen.

But I think there are several ways to kind of go out of your way to try and get inspired and in my opinion that’s mostly kind of experiencing new things. Personally, if I’m lacking inspiration I like to do things like go to the cinema and see your film I haven’t seen.

Or go to the theater and see a play I haven’t seen. Maybe listen to a new album that people have been talking about and I haven’t listened to yet. Basically, for me, it’s just kind of consuming other people’s art and that usually inspires me to think of things.

Find ideas for your next bookLet’s add that to a bubble map shall we? Consuming art. That sounds like I want to eat a painting. That can be a metaphor for something. Yes, good and there’s lots of other things that can inspire you. Like as I said, things in your life life experiences.

You don’t have to wait around for something dramatic to happen to you, because dramatic things happening to you are quite rare, but you can think about if you want to write this sort story. You could think about, you know, things that have affected you in your life.

Things that have made you feel deep emotions and a good sound. Yeah and those can all kind of feed into your ideas and inspire you to want to write them down. Because writing is a form of emotional expression for many people, so that could be good.

So to summarize, yeah those are like, for me, those are the two main things but obviously inspiration can just come from anywhere. So you know, be open to pretty much anything. If something makes you feel something, think about why it makes you feel that way and think about whether it would be a good and fun thing to put in a story.

Then good – one thing down. You can go down, the red pin. Okay, so the second thing um leads on quite well from inspiration and yes this is going to be the blue pen everyone. That wasn’t as satisfying. Blue pen is disappointing so far.

The second thing that I think is good for coming up with ideas is thinking about purpose. Strong word – very good. Look, we’re getting some nice colors now. Very very nice indeed. So what I mean by purpose is just having a think about, you know, you want to write a book.

You know you love writing. You want to write but you don’t have the idea. Purpose is figuring out why you want to write a book and think like and from that what sort of book would you want to write. I think the ‘why’ is quite important personally, because there are so many different reasons why someone would want to write a book.

Which is why there are so many different genres of fiction. For example, the person who wrote, James Joyce who wrote Ulysses, probably had a very different reason for writing a book than E.L. James, who wrote 50 shades of grey.

Get list of ideas for a bookBut they both wrote a book. They just both had very different reasons. There’s two very odd examples I chose there. Then probably thinking about why they wanted to write the book, that the type of book that I wanted to write was probably a very big part of figuring out what actually happens in their books.

So you want to write. You need to find your purpose. So from some examples, some people write because they want to explore a theme which is one of my big reasons for writing. Like in solitaire, I explore isolation and loneliness and feeling like different from other people and then in radio silence I explored like school stress and kind of expectation.

You might also want to write a book to express a message and to kind of teach people about something not in life a preacher a but just in a edge sort of educational way. Like I immediately think of only ever yours by Louise O’Neill, which I’m sure Louise wrote.

I mean, maybe it’s a bit presumptuous. I don’t know why anyone writes what they do, but I’m sure Louise wrote that because she wanted to teach people about feminism and about women like having rights over their own bodies and things like that.

So yeah but you know those took two quite serious things. People might also want to write books because they want to give people fluffy warm feelings. Like you know, if you write a very cute romance novel.

Create book topic ideasThat’s not really exploring any deep themes but you’ve still got a purpose for doing that because you’re letting the reader feel lots of nice warm feelings. So yeah, have a sit down, think about, you know, you want to write book but think about the why.

Why do you want to write and then leaving on from that, what would that entail? What to genre would that mean? What characters would you need? What setting would you need to explore? That cool, t nice little flow chart. Now we’ve got bubbles. We’ve got a flow chart and Mr. McCauley from Rochester Grammar School would be proud.

One last thing – I’ve left the whole half the board to do this. I’m not, I’m gonna try and fill up the board third and final thing is brainstorming. This green pen. All right everyone, the green pen is disappointing and I can’t fit the full word brainstorming on the whiteboard.

Just a disappointing final round everyone. That is weak, weak. The final thing I want to talk about brainstorming. Coming up with a book idea , it’s not gonna happen immediately. I mean, you can get that spark of inspiration, you can get like a sudden idea for a character or a theme or a be even a plot line, but you can’t come up with a full book plan in just like in one night.

I mean if you can, good well done. Why are you watching this video? I mean, if you don’t brainstorm, even if it’s just happening in your head, I don’t really know how you would write a book unless you brainstormed.

idea for a novelAnd so if you don’t know what brainstorming means (I’m sure you do) it just means just coming up with loads and loads of different ideas but miniature ideas. Coming up with loads of these little miniature ideas. Images, words, phrases, quotes and just collecting them all.

That’s right. Words, images, phrases. Wow, I mean this is top quality education. My handwriting is really deteriorated. I’m blaming this pen. Words, images, phrases and quotations. So brainstorming is so much fun. Like you can pretty much do it any way you want.

You could do it like this. You could do a bubble map, loads of bubble maps. You could just get a notebook and write down loads of words and ideas in a notebook and I tell you what is fun. What I always do is I make an inspiration blog like a Tumblr.

I just I collect images on Tumblr. I also make playlists, that’s a good form of brainstorming. So just anything that kind of spurs your imagination. Let’s give you some examples. Here we’ve got playlists ,notebooks, Tumblr – just Tumblr or you could use like Pinterest.

I’d never use Pinterest. I don’t really know like what Pinterest does. I think it’s like move boards. Oh bubble maps, I’ll try and show you some examples or I’ll insert them here, some images of my brainstorming methods. But this needs to go in a bubble continuity everyone.

And oh one more thing about brainstorming – important! You need to give it time. Don’t feel frustrated if you start brainstorming and you don’t immediately have a book idea. Just keep brainstorming . Keep working on those ideas and eventually something will just click.

That was a weak click. Ideas don’t arrive fully formed and complicated in your head. Plots don’t arrive fully formed complete in your head. Neither do characters. Everything starts small. So hopefully I’ve given you some starting points.

At least for me, those are kind of the three main things I think help me come up with ideas but as is the motto. I’ve decided in this series, you don’t have to listen to a single thing I say because writing is art and art is subjective and you can pretty much do whatever you want.

Okay I hope this is helpful. I’ll be back soon with the next one, which i think is gonna be on hold on. I’m gonna check planning. Let me know if this was helpful. Let me know if the whiteboard was a success. I think it was and I’ll see you in the next video. We’ll talk about planning. It’s gonna be good, yeah. Bye.

Help Writing A Book For Beginners & Beyond

Help In Book Writing

With the best will in the world, writing a book is hard. No, let me re-phrase that – writing a good book that’s worth publishing is hard. Writing is easy. Anyone can write and that is a problem with the industry at the moment. Millions of average books are appearing every week due to the ease of self-publishing. A good idea is to get help writing a book from people who have done it before.

Book Writing Coach Lisa TenerThere are loads of books to help with writing a book and these can be a boon, but the good coaching can make or break your authoring aspirations. Lisa Tener has helped many authors, coaching some of them to five and six figure publishing deals (check out the testimonials on her web site.)

We tend to shy away from seeking help in writing, but it is out there – and a lot of it for free! Of course, it has to be said that a lot of care should be taken by checking the credentials of the advice givers, but ,many luminaries, such as John Grisham, offer insights into their writing process.

One problem is that, while a basic process and structure is beneficial to new authors looking for help in writing a book, we are all individuals and don’t work in the same way. This is one reason why the best coaching and instructional writing courses focus on your personal strengths and weaknesses.

In the video below, Evan Carmichael outlines the process he uses for writing, publishing and marketing a book.

Need Help Writing A Book? It Happens All The Time

Video Transcript:

Hello, Believe Nation! My name is Evan Carmichael! My one word is believe, and I believe that entrepreneurs will solve all the of the world’s major problems. So, to help you on your journey, today, I’m going to talk about seven ways to write a book for beginners. (electronic music)

So, I launched my first book with Penguin Random House in December of last year. I’m in the process of writing my second book, and I have the first draft, just finished! I’m super excited about that. And I’ve been gettin’ a lot of questions, from you guys, asking me about the process. How do I write a book, what does it look like?

How do I make sure that my book is a success, comin’ out of the gate? And so, today, I wanted to share with you seven ways on how to do it, that I think you’ll enjoy. Tip number one, actually want to write a book. This might sound like a no-brainer, but I think a lot of people want to write a book for the wrong reasons.

how to get help writing a bookA lot of people want to write a book, because it’s going to get them credibility. You think it’s going to open up doors. And it can, and it does. I think it was a lot more true, ten years ago, than it is now. I can open up almost any door I want, just usin’ my YouTube channel, and my social media, much more than the book helps me do that.

There weren’t as many avenues as there were before, and so, you needed to have a book. But now, it’s not as necessary. I wouldn’t say that it’s not important at all. I think a good book can definitely help you open up a lot of opportunities, but it’s not needed.

If that’s your goal, there’s a lot of other ways around to do it. Writin’ a book is really hard. For me, it was a two year process. The second book is coming along a little bit faster. So, you have to really want to do it. If it’s a bucket list thing that you have to do, and you’re deeply passionate about it. You have a message that you want to share. This needs to come out!

You need to give birth to this thing! It’s that important to you, then you should go out and do it. If it’s part of your marketing strategy, and nice to have, then I think there’s other, more effective ways that you can.

So, just want to make sure that that’s, or anything you’re doing, in life, in business, you’re startin’ a company for an important reason, not just trying to make money, or just prove something. So, you have to really, really, really, really want to write a book. If you are, then the next six steps are for you.

Tip number two, is create an outline and a schedule. What I found really helpful for me, was to create an outline at the start. So, my book, Your One Word, we’ve got seven chapters, it’s three sections. And so, I start from the top. What’s the big idea, that I want to get across?

And this works really well with nonfiction, but also with fiction. What is the main thing that I’m tryin’ to get across? And then, how does that break down? So, I have three main sections in the book. Okay, what are those three things look like?

And then, within three, then how do I divide those into different chapters? Great, okay, so I have these chapters here, these chapters here, great, all makes sense. Now, I can start to work on individual chapters, and in that chapter, what I want to talk about.

book writing helpYou can go page, by page, by page. And so, I find it really hard to think big, and think small at the same time. So, I think my big thinking first. That’s the outline, that’s the overview. It’s what we’re tryin’ to accomplish. That’s the general breakdown of the section.

And then, once it’s all planned out, even just a headline, or a title, then I can get the work, I’m actually building that page, and I trust that it fills in with everything else that I’m tryin’ to do. It fits the strategy, it fits the structure really well. Also, if your goal is to get it into a publisher’s hands, they want to see an outline.

They want to know what you’re doing. They want to see a sample chapter as well, you’ll submit to them, and get a sense of your writing style. And I think, for the scheduling part, creating the schedule, for yourself, to make time, right? It’s a lot of work, to write a book! And so, you need to dedicate time, in your schedule.

You’re not just going to have pockets, that magically open up. And for me, at least, I needed to find dedicated time to do it. Everybody has their own process. Some people love writing two crappy pages a day, and they spend half an hour every morning, writing. For me, that didn’t work. I needed to have chunks of time.

If I sat down in the morning, and tried to have 15, to half an hour, 15 minutes, and half an hour, writing, it took me that long, just to get into the zone of writing, and then I would stop, to go do something else. I needed to block out my whole day. So, while I was writing Your One Word, that was my whole Tuesday.

I would spend the entire Tuesday writing my book. I would get out of my place. I would walk to a local coffee shop. I would answer your questions, and document the journey as I went along. And when I got to the coffee shop, I would shut out all distractions, and just write.

It took me about 30 minutes to get into the zone. I’d think, okay, now I’m flowing. Then, I tried to stay there as much as possible. So, if it’s really, really important to you that it gets done, put it in your calendar. Make time for it.

get help for writing a bookThen again, this is for everything, not just writing a book. You got to prioritize the things that are important to you, and put them in your calendar, or they won’t get done. If you’re just waitin’ for some time to magically appear, guarantee, it’s not going to happen. Schedule it in.

Tip number three, is decide whether you want to self-publish, or use a publisher. It really just depends on what your goals are. If your goal is primarily, financially, you want to be able to make money from it, and you want to be able to control a lot of the aspects of it, then self-publishing is the way to go.

You can make a little money, just a tiny commission, from whatever name is on the other resellers. And you get to decide everything. Book cover, all the words inside, every aspect about it, you get to have full control over. This was exactly your vision, and it gets out there. That’s self-publishing model.

If your goal is to have reach, if your goal is to use your publisher’s branding recognition, then you go to publisher. For me, my goal is to help building entrepreneurs. And so, I wanted, I always wanted, to work out projects that have the ability, to have a massive impact. That’s what I strive for, every single day.

And so, self-publishing wasn’t the route that I wanted to go. I wanted to go with a major publisher, because I value not just their ability to help with the editing and all that stuff, ’cause you can hire someone for that. But, distribution, promotion, having the brand name attached to it.

Not so much that adding Penguin on my name really means a lot, but Penguin on the book can mean a lot. And so, I wanted to give the book the best chance, to have big reach, to get to the bookstores, to get name recognition. And so, that’s why I went with the publisher.

If you’re going to go with a publisher, I highly recommend trying to get a literary agent first. Literary agents basically represent you. They’re like a real estate agent, but for your book, instead of for your house.

Their job is to know all the different people, all the different publishers, where they have money, what books they’re interested in, and create basic credibility more. When I was doing mine, we had five calls with publishers, on two days, back, to back, to back, to back, to back, to back, and it created some drama, right?

So, we talked to one, and talked to another, talk to another, and we ended up increasing the commitment, significantly, from where we started. And so, when you can create that kind of bidding war, it gets people more interested in you, and you need a well trained literary agent, because of connections, to make that happen for you.

So, if you’re going to go the publisher route, I’d recommend going with a literary agent. They usually take a percentage of your deal, but it much, much, much more pays for itself, as well as the advice, and the positioning, compared to if you try to do it by yourself. – So, tip number four, is to overcome rejection.

help me write a bookIt’s our first series on Evan’s channel, called Unlocking Lily. And one of the challenges, I had to research famous speakers, and a lot of them wrote books. But, one of the authors that really, really resonated with me, is Jack Canfield.

So, Jack Canfield was rejected by 144 publishers, before he was able to publish his book, Chicken Soup for the Soul. Can you imagine, if he gave up, after the first publisher, or even the 50th one, or the 100 one? We wouldn’t have access to his books, and his message would’ve been completely lost.

So many millions of people actually benefit off his books. So, that’s the same thing for you. Anytime you’re rejected, keep going. And I know, I know rejection’s so hard, especially if you put your entire life’s work, and effort into this book, and it just gets shut down, and rejected.

So, that’s why you need to keep going, and going through all the rejections, and overcome them. Because, it’s important to you. Your message needs to be out there. And then, there’s a funny old saying, there’s a lid for every pot.

So, every time you bring a book to a publisher, and they say no, go to the next one, go to the next one, keep going, and you will find a lid to your pot. – Tip number five, is have a test audience. This was actually something surprising, that’s not really done in the publishing world.

When I was getting close to the draft of my first book, Your One Word, I was getting ready to get it out there, and let people know about it. I said, okay, so what do we do with test audiences?

How do we get feedback on this, and they said, “Well, we don’t do test audiences. “We don’t get feedback.” And it’s something that’s really common in lot of other industries. In software, before you start selling your product, you send it out to your beta testers, and they test it, and they tell you what’s wrong with it, and how it can be fixed.

In the movie business, they’ll make a movie, and have test screenings, and then they’ll see what the audience reaction is, and maybe change the ending, or change different scenes, because that thought that would make people laugh, but they didn’t laugh.

help in writing a bookSo, let’s switch it up. Or, they got too scary at the end, and walked out. So, let’s switch that up. In the book business, it’s not really done. They’re so concerned about people getting early access, and it being shared too much, and it’s just not part of how the industry works, and I find it so incredibly helpful to do!

So, I printed off 30 copies of my book. I actually printed it off at Alex’s little condo. That was a fun day, and had just binders. And I shipped ’em, and gave ’em to people who were in my local area. Some were entrepreneurs.

Half were entrepreneurs, half weren’t entrepreneurs. So, I wanted a general perspective. And the feedback was so helpful. I actually trimmed my book down to half. I wrote two books. So, they wanted 60, 65,000 words.

In the book, I wrote 120, 130,000 words, and half the book is gone. It was cut, based off the feedback that came from my test audience. And so, I highly recommend that you print off 20 to 30 copies of your book, before it goes to final print, and just get feedback from people who are inside your target market, and outside, just to get tips, suggestions.

And yeah, see about grammar errors, and all that kind of stuff, but more like how did it resonate with you? Did you like this part? And the thing I really paid attention to, especially parts in a nonfiction book, was where people underlined, and the notes that they wrote to themselves. I didn’t care what they wrote.

I wasn’t really payin’ attention to how it was impacting them, but this page got a lot of people underlining, and writing notes in the column, and these four pages, nobody cared about. It’s pretty easy to decide which pages to cut for the book. So, have a test audience. Tip number six, is get ready for pre-launch. It’s not just about writing a great book.

You have to have marketing. You need to promote it. You got to get exposure from it. It’s really important. And so, I think an easy way to do it, is actually to start documenting the process along the way. So, I was launching Your One Word, every week, I’d make a new video.

I would update you guys with how I was doing, where I was at, my concerns, my victories, and I would answer your questions about the whole process as well. And so, I think documenting your process, documenting your journey, whether it’s on YouTube, or Twitter, on Instagram, or Facebook, or wherever you live, start to buIld a little bit of a community up, and get people to join you on that path, so they are excited for the book coming out.

books to help with writingThey’re ready to buy in advance. Have bonuses that relate to the book, and give an incentive to buy early, and to buy multiples. I think one of the biggest mistakes I made, in my bonus package, was that I didn’t have a two option. So, you could buy one book, I think it was then ten books, and then up, like 25 and up from there.

But, a lot of people ended up buying one book, and another book for a friend. I didn’t have a two book bonus option. And so, do it again, would have something for, if you buy two books. It’s an easy entry point. But, not just waiting for it to launch, and hope everything goes okay.

Carefully planning the pre-launch of it, counting down on your website, showcasing features of what’s going to be in there, documenting the process that people can join in on your journey, and they’re excited for it.

And you get a chance to talk about your book, over, and over, and over, and over again, without it being promotional, because you’re providing value in updating every step along the way. And tip number seven, is keep marketing.

Just because your book has come out, it doesn’t mean you should stop marketing. It’s not just about week one, when it just comes out, it’s constantly marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, and hopefully your book ties into what you’re currently doing, whether you’re a thought leader, whether you’re an entrepreneur, whatever it is that you’re doing, your book hopefully fills a void, and is part of your ongoing process.

And ideally, you can involve it in the things that you’re doing. So, couple examples of how we do it, one, content. So, I make content. I’m a YouTuber. I have Twitter. I have other accounts, social media, and I always have consistent content on the book.

On my Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook, and Twitter, and it may just be reading a quote from the book. Almost every weeknight, I’ll read a quote from the book, and post that as a quick ten second video. I use the book in… I use the book in my videos. Let’s line that up, right? The book is always kind of seen, product placement in here.

I say what my one word is, at the top of the video. I thank people at the end of the videos, who bought the book, and give them shout outs. I ask people to remember what their one word is at the end of the video. So, I’m creating content that includes the book, where I’m relevant. I don’t try to force it in situation where it doesn’t work.

But sometimes, the book will be in the seven ways. Like, number five is find your one word. It’s applicable. It’s part of my process. And so, creating content that feels natural, that’s not just promotional content, but naturally fits, because its value in the book that you created.

The second thing that I do, that is really helpful, is work that, well, like a hack, that I haven’t seen a lot of other people do, is every week, my assistant will go to Amazon, pull up my book page, and then see what related books are recommended down below.

So, it might be a Grant Cardone book, or it might be Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, or it might be Tim Ferriss’s book. Whatever the most relevant book is, for my book that week, and then, my assistant will go to YouTube, where I’m most known, I have the biggest following, and start connecting to other YouTubers, who have done book reviews on those other books.

help with writing a bookAnd she’ll reach out, and say, hey, I see you did a review of Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, or his new book that just came out. I have a book opportunity for you. Here’s Evan. He’s got a book called Your One Word. It’s really related to what Gary’s doing, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

And if you want Evan to be a part of your video, let me know. And so, I’m often either being interviewed for the book, or providing a voiceover for the book, depending on how they do their videos. And so, that’s been a highly effective way.

So, I’ve lined up around 40 or 50 YouTubers who profiled my book, just by having a simple outreach on related books. And the third thing to do, around marketing, is really following up with the readers. You know, a lot of readers don’t even read the book, any book. Like, most people who will buy your book, it’ll just sit there on the shelf, and they’ll never read it.

It just collects dust. And I would much rather sell ten books, and everybody read, those ten people read the books, and sell 100, and nobody reads ’em. And so, having a way to follow up, with readers, and making sure that they’re consuming the content, they need any help. And we do a lot of work. So, one of the things that we try to do, in the pre-campaigns, is collect emails. I wish I did something stronger in the book.

One of my regrets is, I wish, like on the first page, it said, email your receipt to this email address, and we’ll send you bonuses, because that way, you can collect a lot more email addresses. And most of the people, who bought my book, went through Amazon, and I don’t know who they are.

So, I have no way of following up with them. It’s frustrating. But, we did collect a lot of email addresses from our readers, and they get put into a sequence, where every month, I’m sending them an email, that’s related to the book, that’s asking them how they’re doing, that’s checking in. Did you find your one word, can I help?

Can I be your resource, do you have any questions? Do you have any problems? I also send them a video of the month, that’s answering somebody’s question, so it’s an unlisted video, that you don’t have access to, unless you bought the book, and you get that once a month.

And it’ll also make a customized video for everybody, and just a quick, ten second video. Hey, John. Thank you so much for picking up my book. I see you’re from California. I really appreciate the support, man. I was just in California last month.

If I come back again, it’ll be great to be able to connect and do something together. What’s up, Jonathan? Alexandra, happy Tuesday. What’s up, man? Greetings from Toronto, all the way out to Jamaica. You know, just a quick personal video, and people really appreciate it. So, my goal is to follow up, because some people never pick up a book, and read it.

who can help me write a bookOr, some people, after the third message, they read it, they’re right back, ’cause they feel guilty, like oh, I haven’t read the book yet. You want the people, who’ve read your book, to spread it. Like, word of mouth is so important, for an author trying to get their book out, ’cause you’re not spending money on Super Bowl commercials, right?

You don’t have a million dollar ad campaign. And so, you want the people to spread it for you. And if they haven’t read the book, then they can’t spread the message! And so, thinkin’ about ways to collect people’s email addresses, put it in a book, give them bonuses.

I also write in the book, if you’re havin’ any problems finding your one word, email me. I put the email address in there, so people connect through that method as well. And if you can get them, finding value in the book, they’re much more likely to tell their friends.

And so, those are three of the ideas that I’m using for my book, Your One Word, and I encourage you to find ways, continue to market it, so it’s not just a one-off thing, launch date, and then you forget about it.

So, those are my seven tips on how to write a book for beginners. I made this video, because nazem abdrabo asked me to. So, if you want me to cover a topic in a future Seven Ways video, there’s a link in the description. You can go check it out there, and vote for your next favorite topic. I’d also love to know, what did you think of this video?

What was your favorite tip? What was most applicable to your process? Is there an eight, nine, ten, that I missed, that you want to add to the list? Please share down in the comments below. I’m really excited to see what you have to say.

I also wanted to give a quick shout out to the legendary Brian Tracy. Brian, thank you so much for picking up a copy of my book, Your One Word, and sharing your review, and posting to Twitter. It really means a lot to me, and I’m so glad that you enjoyed the book.

So, thank you guys so much for watching. I believe in you. I hope you continue to believe in yourself, and whatever your one word is. Much love. I’ll see you soon.

Help writing a book pdf

Novel Writing Course Online Review

Online Writing Course Review

Everyone has read the stories about John Grisham and Frederick Forsyth, two authors who wrote best sellers with their first novel. Enthusiastic writers point out that Grisham had no formal training and just wrote by the seat of his pants, without any form of novel writing course online to help him!

Forsyth, on the hand, wrote his novel ‘Day of the Jackal‘ in 30 days and we all know the rest of the story. Here’s the rub folks – it ain’t going to happen! The market for new novels in all genres is incredibly crowded today, and a new author needs all the help he or she can get.

How To Write A Book

Of course, you can go it alone, picking up all those free tips on Youtube, but a well-taught and structured approach to creative writing will lift you above the crowd fast.

Statistics show that writer’s who successfully complete a professional online novel writing course are three times more likely to eventually publish a novel. It’s a fact that 3 or 4 students out of every 100 who enrol in the best writing workshops in New York or UK become published novelists. The problem is: We don’t all live in a city and real live writing creative writing classes are prohibitively expensive.

For many people, a book writing course online is the answer and gives the best of both worlds. They are affordable and the best are taught by real authors. Not all online writing workshops are the same. Look for tutorials offered by published authors and industry professionals, preferably award-winners!

Creative Writing Courses Online Presented By Holly Lisle

Holly Lisle has a fine collection of book writing courses online and her credentials are about as good as they can get! According to her Wikipedia page, she ranks among the most prolific and successful authors who also excel at teaching their craft – a rare combination indeed.

FREE Course – Click Here

Writing professionally since 1991, her first novel FIRE IN THE MIST won the Compton Crook Award, which is presented in the category of Best First Novel. Since then, she has written and published over 30 books and incredibly, finds the time to create some of the best online writing workshops in general, and how to write novels in particular.

The video below is an example of her teaching style. It’s infectious, fun and entertaining, while oozing with tips for improving your fiction writing at the basic level and learning how to write a good novel.

She puts herself in the reader’s place and asks herself the right questions – am I telling the reader too much or too little? Is the main character active or passive? Does the point of view suit the story?

It’s tremendously practical and the course reviews speak for themselves. Holly has gone the extra couple of miles by providing a lively forum where writers at all level hang, exchanging ideas and offering encouragement to their peers. Of course, Holly is always on-hand to steer people in the right direction.

In short, Holly’s writing courses are the ‘real deal’ and offer a fast track to writing your own fiction and getting it published – knowing how to write a good novel is just the first phase of an author’s work! You’ll also find courses for creating book covers, publishing and book marketing. Holly Lisle writing courses are the complete package for writing success.

Creative Writing Critique by Holly Lisle

Writing Critique Example – Holly Lisle PDF 

A head peaked around my nearly closed door. I saw panic in the eyes that looked back at me. Panic and cold hard fear. Kate was back and she was in trouble. They’re always in trouble, that’s why they come to me. I’m a writer crash tester. After 17 years and 32 novels of my own, I can shake down a plot, twist a sentence like a pretzel and slam a paragraph against a wall until it begs mercy.

I take no prisoners, I brook no excuses and now I’m on the case of a fuzzy thing. Kate needed answers and she needed them fast. She handed me a sheaf of papers and said, “I want the opening to suck the reader in and I don’t think this is sucking.” So I started reading.


The first time it was a nightmare. I was seven years old and it was the middle of the night. when my dreams turned from a Queen’s banquet to a dark hazy world which was all too real. It was like walking alone at night without any light but there was something more to it. Strange intrusive beings surrounded me and I cowered in their presence.


I awoke to a wet bed shivering and alone, and although it was still early, I didn’t sleep again that night. I didn’t tell anyone. Whenever I’d tried to tell mama my dreams in the past, not that they’d ever been anything like this, she’d always laughed at me and in the bright light of a summer’s day this one seemed as silly as any of my other nightmare adventures.


The second time was much the same. I was nine when I wandered from a sunny meadow into the twisted reality of the nightmare once again, a little older but no less scared. I shrank away from other beings that approached me and longed desperately for my eyes to open to that wet bed.


This time I told my friend Alex, although not about the wet bed. Naturally, he told me I was weird and went back to showing me his wooden sword. It didn’t happen again for a while. When it did I was 13 and it happened a bit differently. I was reluctantly helping mama prepare dinner. I’d wanted to go for a ride with Alex and Kaliesha but Mama and Papa wouldn’t let me.


So there I was shelling peas with an air of great offense and injustice, fuming to myself when the world went dark. Mom’s pretty singing faded to an eerie silence. I could feel strange things coming toward me, approaching me, eagerly. I desperately wanted to get away to hide but there was nothing there, but then I was terrified, more so than before because I knew I wasn’t asleep.


Panicking, I shouted at them to leave me alone and they did. I couldn’t see them but I could feel them. They stopped as if surprised and then began to retreat. Before I had time to do anything more, I was back in the kitchen leaning heavily on the wooden table with Mama’s arm around my shoulders and her murmurs of worried comfort in my ears.


best creative writing courses ukWe walk away from this scene lost in smoke and confusion. What happened here? It raises its ugly head and it is a problem. We are told the first time it was a nightmare. We see that it was the middle of the night.

We see that it was like walking alone at night but there was something more to it. In the same sentence, or in the same section, here we have my dreams turned all too real, and the word ‘strange’.

We’ll get into why those are problems in a minute. We cannot see, hear, feel, taste, smell or touch anything. The character awakes to a wet bed. It was still early but she didn’t tell anyone because she says her dreams were different than they were in the past – ‘not that it ever been anything like this’ but we don’t know what ‘this’ was like.

Move on; what is real to the writer must be real to us. We’re told the second time was much the same but we don’t have a clear feel for the first time. We’re told about a twisted reality. This is a vague phrase.

We’re told about ‘other beings that approached me’. Beings are a vague word and move on. For an instant here we have light clarity and action, not in the first sentence. There we have it ‘didn’t happen’ and ‘it happened’ a bit differently.

But moving down into the second paragraph on the scene ‘so there I was shelling peas with an air of great offense and injustice fuming to myself when the world went dark for a moment’. Here we get a sharp view of this kid. We know who she is. We know what she’s thinking. We understand her then, it all goes away.

We are confronted again with ‘I could feel strange things coming toward me’. Move on and in the climax, the climax comes and goes, and it leaves us unmoved. She yells at the things that are coming at her and they just go away.

We have no feel for her fear. She tells us ‘I was terrified’ but ‘I was terrified’ says nothing. It requires us to believe her, to take her at her word. It does not show us.

online short story writing courseSo what we have met in this example is the monster ‘tell’ and we as writers must fear him.

Fix number one, ‘escape’ from it and other vague pronouns. The writer’s job is to make the world she imagines real to her reader. Concrete nouns give the reader something to hang on to.

Instead of the introductory sentence ‘the first time it was a nightmare’ I used as an example ‘that first time darkness devoured me and cold iced my skin and emptiness crushed the air from my lungs’. Those are strong nouns ‘darkness’, ‘cold’,’ emptiness’. We understand them.

Fix number two – kill the verb ‘to be’. You can use it occasionally but Hamlet’s soliloquy aside, ‘to be’ is not the writers friend. It tells. It says ‘this is what is because I say so’.

It does not show us anything. Strong verbs are ‘devoured’, ‘iced’, and ‘crushed’ as in my example sentence here, ‘that first time darkness devoured me and cold iced my skin and emptiness crushed the air from my lungs’.

Fix number three – engage the reader’s senses. You must be your character. Get inside his head. Breathe air through his nose and mouth. Feel his sunburned skin, the ache in his muscles. Taste the dried stale bread that’s all he’s had to eat, and bring it to us so that we are in him.

To my example here, instead of the ‘strange creatures’, I have ‘tall pale creatures surrounded me crowding, close to me like too much smoke from a fire and like a fire smoke I could see them and see through them at the same time’.

Fix number four – keep the character moving. This is a passive character. In three nightmares the only thing she does one time is yell. She does nothing else but tell us what is around her.

book writing courses onlineCharacters to whom things happen bore readers. Characters who act intrigue readers. My example from her third encounter – ‘I fought to break free of the darkness’ to force air into my lungs’ to move my frozen limbs but I could not so I stared into their glowing eyes and willed their hands off my skin.

Willed them back from me with my anger and my hatred. Back half an inch. Back an inch. Back a step, then two steps. I willed them gone and without warning they were.’

The biggest fix, however, is the fuzzy thing and this comes from the writer not knowing clearly what it is she’s writing about before she starts to write. Know what’s in your world before you write it.

Don’t describe the monster, and by monster I mean whatever it is you have to describe, or put in front of your reader on page one but describe it to yourself beforehand so that you know your monster inside and out.

Strange is not a writer’s word. My example here – ‘smoke’, ‘dense body 10 feet tall’, ‘glowing eyes’, ‘suckers on palms of clawed hands’, ‘no mouth’, ‘speaks telepathically’, ‘exudes fear’, ‘exudes cold’, this is the way you describe the thing on the paper to yourself before anybody ever sees it. You don’t put this in front of your reader, as such, but you know it’s there, so that you can use it.

In the case of the fuzzy thing, you’ve seen a vague noun crash leaning on evasive pronouns like it in an attempt to heighten mystery. A weak verb crash – telling with is rather than showing with active verbs. A sensory deprivation crash – forgetting to figure out what the writer would do and feel and see and think and hear in a similar situation.

An action crash – the character watches without acting and a visualization crash – not knowing the monster well enough. Crash tests – I do them because all writers make mistakes. Working writers learn how to fix them. Learn to crash test your own writing. From me, Holly Lisle novelist, writing teacher, writer crash tester.

Novel Writing Course Online For Beginners With Alessandra Torre

I’ve researched several novel writing courses delivered over the internet, and the tutorials offered by Alessandra Torres stand out. I particularly like the fact that she is a New York Times award-winning author, so she really knows how to put a novel together.

In this short video below, you can see a preview of her course ‘How To Write A novel’:

It’s a general rule that a writer’s job has a 50/50 split between actually creating a novel and then getting it to the readers. Alessandra Torres understands this aspect very well and also offers much sound advice on this important aspect of the craft.

Online Novel Writing Workshops & Beyond!

An editor talks about the mistakes hat new authors regularly make:

I wanted to talk about something a little bit different today. Most of you know that I have a book editor background and some of you seemed kind of interested in that, so I thought we’d have a little bit of an editor discussion.

I kind of wanted to talk about three common mistakes that I see in fiction generally with new authors. These are minor things and honestly, I’ll probably continue talking about this maybe make a few other videos, because I think these really small things can help with the pacing of the novel.

They can help tighten up the language and ultimately help you connect with readers. Before we dive into that I did want to address something, and that is the misconceptions that people have of book editors. A lot of people tend to think of editors as these snobby mean monsters with their red pen, going on a mission to crush your dreams and cackling at their computers.

Fixing all these grammatical errors – monsters, monsters. You think we’re all monsters but I want to tell you that I could not be further from the truth. In fact it might go off on a little bit of a tangent, so this might be a two-part video. We’ll see what happens but really book editors. Editors who care are not in it to rip up your manuscript.

Yes there may be some uncomfortable things that, you know, you might have to address as an author, but you have to think of your editor as a partner. You have to think of your editor as like that friend who will let you know if you have lipstick on your teeth. Like we are here to help you. Ultimately, we’re here to help you connect with readers.

We’re here to watch a better product emerge, to help you with your revision. I just want that to kind of be like the underlying theme of this video. It’s important that you know that I don’t take lightly the fact that authors hand over their manuscripts to me. That is a very durable thing. Your manuscript is your baby. It’s precious. I get that.

I don’t take that lightly and so I really can’t stress that enough. You created something. You sat down and you wrote a book, and that’s something to be celebrated. So just know that before we go into this. And also I want to say that I understand for first-time authors that it can be frustrating to work on something and to know where you want to go with your work.

You have the idea. You have the vision. You have the good taste. Hugh Glass talks about this. He talks about it, he calls it the gap. I’ll try to link it down below if I can find it, but he basically talks about that gap between knowing what you want to create, and just not being there yet, because practice makes perfect .

You have to work hard with any creative project to get to kind of where you want to be, and I know it can be frustrating sometimes. You have to create that terrible first draft, or that second draft, or that third draft that just is bad. It’s not useless. It’s your doing the hard work. Your revising and revising takes courage.

It takes courage to write a book, to really put yourself out there and entrust your manuscript with someone like me, so I respect you. I find it incredibly brave. Who could do a whole video on that? We’re gonna keep trucking along here. So the first common mistake that I see a lot in fiction, kind of the overused words or techniques that I see.

These include masking emotions with strong verbs. So many writers are able to show readers what’s happening with a character but often when it comes to emotions, it’s really really easy to tell us what’s going on instead of show us. You’ve heard ‘show don’t tell’. I’m sure if you’re a writer you’ve heard it, but this is a really overused technique that kind of creates the illusion of a powerful scene or a powerful emotion.

creative novel writing course online freeWhen you take a closer look, you realize that it doesn’t really tell the reader anything. Examples: fear slammed into her sadness, strangled him, anger shot through her doubt and fear rose in her chest. These are not bad sentences but they are masking emotion. At first they seem like really solid strong sentences but they’re actually more abstract.

Rather than writing these ambiguous sentences, ask yourself if you can show how a character is confused or scared during. Ask yourself if it shows how a character really is. If it doesn’t convey the physical and mental associations with that emotion. then it’s a telling sentence.

I want to take a second here to recommend a resource called the emotion thesaurus, the writers guide to character expression. I’ll link it down below. It is the best resource if you struggle with conveying body language or just really showing what’s going on with the character rather than telling.

Number two mistake – using unnecessary words, such as started to, or began to, or begin to, or start to. This seems like so minor it’s almost not even worth mentioning, but I promise you that if you keep a look out for these words, you will tighten up your language. You will improve the overall pacing of your novel. Keeping an eye out for unnecessary words is the best thing you can do.

Now what do I mean by empty words? When someone starts to do something, they’re already doing it. When she starts to walk down the driveway, she is walking. If he begins to cook dinner, he is cooking dinner. I think a lot of writers tend to use empty words to build tension or suspense. but really it’s not helping with the pacing. As with all writing guidelines, don’t go eliminating every time you see this word, but just ask yourself ‘can I remove this?’ If it’s not adding value, it’s gone.

Online Writing Workshop - TorresThe third one is kind of a few issues combined and that is over explaining, or insulting the readers intelligence. Now, this isn’t something that I experienced just as an editor. I’m sure you as a reader have seen this in novels. When they just kind of like dump all this information on you and it’s something that could have easily unfolded naturally in the story through dialogue or descriptions.

I’m not saying that readers need to be confused on what’s going on in the first chapter or whatever, but play around with how you reveal certain information. Can you reveal it naturally through dialogue? That’s the info dumping, part the over-explaining. Insulting our readers intelligence has to do more with kind of using unnecessary words again. There’s nothing worse for readers experience when the author is watering down what’s going on.

Here’s an example of what I mean:

“I don’t understand why you did that to me,” said Molly, with a confused look on her face.

So, is that dialogue tag necessary? Not really, if it’s clear by the dialogue that Molly doesn’t understand something, it’s probably safe to say that you don’t have to tell the reader that she has a confused look on her face. If it’s not necessary slows down the story.

Those are my three teeny tiny bits of advice. Just common overused words and techniques that I see in fiction generally with first-time authors. Again these are things that we all do. These are things that I’m sure I would do if I wrote a book, and I think practice makes maybe not perfect, but you’ll get there. You will improve and hone your craft.

Anyway, I would love to know as readers, or maybe your editors and writers out there, what are some pet peeves of yours, or what are some common mistakes that you find in your everyday reading experience. I would probably be making more editor talk videos like this. If you guys enjoy, it you’d like to get into that, leave a comment. I love to nerd out about this kind of stuff, and yeah, I will talk to you soon . Bye.

Avoid Author’s Mistakes With An Novel Writing Course Online

Video Transcript:

Hi community of awesome! I’m Ava Jae, and this is Bookishpixie. So as I think I’ve mentioned here before, I was really young when I decided I wanted to be a published author. Like, pre-high school, eighth grade young. And when I decided that that was my life goal, I dove right into it.

It was a 100,000-word YA Fantasy, even though I hadn’t really read YA, except for ERAGON and HARRY POTTER, but…we’ll get into that. What I’m leading up to is I made a lot of mistakes as a young writer. Which is understandable because I was totally new to the whole thing, but I want to share with you some of my mistakes so that you can hopefully avoid them.

best novel writing course onlineSo here we go. First, I set a time limit to reaching my goal. Because I was a just-turned teenager teen, I decided that I wanted to be published *as* a teen. The title in my mind was “Bestselling Teen Author.” Aaaand…that didn’t exactly happen. I did not get my book deal as a teen, I didn’t even get my agent as a teen. And yet, by the time I’d graduated high school, I had written five books.

But I had put *so* much pressure on myself to get published by a certain age. And so it became harder and harder for me as I got older and started realizing that the teen author thing wasn’t going to happen for me, and honestly I just made it so much more difficult for myself than I needed to. It was really hard for me to let go of the expectation of getting published as a teen.

But as I’ve said before, it takes time to hone your writing skill, and it takes some people longer than others, and that’s okay. I was on the way longer end of that scale, and I don’t regret one second of it. So don’t put the pressure of a time limit on yourself. You’ll get there at exactly the right time for you.

Second, I didn’t use critique partners…yeah. I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, especially because I now know how important they are and I can’t even imagine trying to move forward with my writing career without my amazing critique partners, but um…yeah, I didn’t at first. I didn’t really know that I wasn’t…sort of?

Because I had family members read it, and I thought that was good enough. But it was *so* not good enough. You need to work with critique partners who are a) not related to you, because people who are related to you are too nice to you, and b) who are writers. I’ve done an entire vlog already on the importance of critique partners, so I’ll link to that below.

But basically don’t skip them, seriously. You need critique partners. Learn from my mistakes, you guys. Third, I didn’t read my category or genre. Like I said, there were a couple exceptions to this because I had semi-recently read ERAGON and HARRY POTTER, which…is middle grade at the beginning, but anyway, that was my knowledge of kidlit and fantasy.

book writing course onlineAt the time that I was writing my first book, I read a ton of Ted Dekker books, and he’s still one of my favourite authors, but he does not write in the category and genre that I write in. So…I really should have been exposing myself to other voices…and I wasn’t. I’ve also done a vlog on why writers must read, so I’ll link to that below. And fourth, when I finished my first draft, I immediately jumped into line editing.

Yeah. Your second draft is not the place for line edits…at all. When you first start your revisions, you want to be focusing on big picture issues, like plot, and character, and pacing, and those kinds of things, but line editing needs to be saved for your later drafts when you’re nearly done.

Why? Because if you do it early on you’re probably gonna have to redo it toward the end again after you’ve made your bigger changes. And I mean not only did I jump into line editing, that was the *only* editing I did. When I first started editing my own work, I thought that editing meant changing commas here and there, and making sure things were grammatically correct, and changing words here and there to make it sound prettier and flow a little better…and that was it.

But there’s so much more to revisions and I’ve already done vlogs on editing, so I’ll link to those below. So those are the mistakes I made, and I hope that you guys will see this video, and not make the same ones. Good luck. So that’s all I’ve got for today! If you liked what you saw, don’t forget to subscribe and comment, and I’ll see you guys next time.


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How To Write A Novel Step By Step

Step by step novel writing guide

For a new author, writing a novel is similar to climbing a mountain. It’s worthwhile asking yourself how you might do that, if you had to?

Like all large projects, it needs to be done in a structured way, if the project is to be completed. Novel writing is a step by step process, and although formulae exist, there is sufficient flexibility to cater for an author’s particular tastes and way of working.

Some authors are ‘Pantsers’, so called because they like to fly by the seat of their pants, using the flow of consciousness to create the story. This can (and does!) work, but for most of use a step by step novel writing template or guide is absolutely invaluable.

The two videos below show that professional authors rely heavily on structure and planning, but that doesn’t mean that the step by step approach is a straight-jacket to creativity. Each author adapts the way that they outline a novel to suit their own needs and working style.

Step By Step Guide To Writing A Novel – Melanie Anne Phillips

How To Write A Novel Step By Step PDF Melanie Phillips

Video Transcript:

Hi I’m Melanie Anne Phillips, author of ‘Write Your Novel Step by Step and this video series is intended as a companion piece to the book, so that step by step we’re a little more conversational, bring in a little more contextual information and help you get from concept to completion of your novel.

So step one describes what’s different about this system. Now what’s different is that instead of looking at with the story needs, it looks at what you the author need. In other words, what is motivating you to write in the first place? What interests you in the story?

Why did you decide you wanted to write a novel. Maybe it’s just a piece of dialogue that you will have running around in your head. Maybe it’s a setting or a genre that you’ve always liked to to read and wanted to write in.

Maybe it’s a character that you’ve developed that you’d really like to see what they were doing in certain situations. Whatever the reason that you’re wanting to write your novel, we focus on what’s motivating you and that becomes step one, inspiration.

So inspiration in the first stage is what are all the ideas that you have bopping around in your head. As long as they’re flowing freely, as long as you keep free associating and have a new idea about this or new thought about that, you really don’t need any help at that point.

You just need something to help you open the floodgates and keep it going as long as possible. When you have finished with writing down everything that you know about your story already and new ideas are kind of getting down to a trickle, because you’re starting to think more about how am I going to fit things together.

How am I going to make this idea work with that idea in the same story? Do all these things belong in the same story? How do I fill this hole? What happens an app to all of these kinds of issues? You’ve moved on to the second stage of story creation, of novel writing, which is development.

Now in this stage, this is where you start working on the details. You start figuring out how to plug the holes and see what fits in the same story and what doesn’t. And logistically, structurally, all all of these interesting topical ideas or subject matter, setting, or mood ideas that you want to work with. How many of them can be incorporated into one single novel.

Well, when you finish that second part you move on to the third stage of novel-writing and that’s exposition. In exposition you need to work out, you know, what you’re serious about. You know what your novel contains.

You’ve got a law worked out in development based on the ideas. You have inspiration but now how do you reveal it to the audience? How do you unfold it? At what point do you tell them things? Do you hold it back on certain parts that, like in a mystery, do you reveal it bit by bit, like in a conspiracy theory.

Do you want to mislead them by telling them that this is what’s going on, only to turn out something else later without making them feel violated. You need to work that out. Once you’ve got it figured out, then you move on to the final stage, which is story talent.

Here’s where you figure out moment by moment exactly what’s going to happen in your novel. So that by the time you’re finished with the book or with this video series you’ll end up with probably a 40 to 50 page treatment of your novel, which will contain everything except the dialogue.

Unless the dialogue’s absolutely essential to say it this way in order to get the point across. In other words, it’s like the blueprint for your novel. Something that you just sit down and write from, you know, everything that’s going to happen.

What your story’s world is. Who’s in it. What happens to them and what it all means. And it’s in sequential order and then you’re all ready to sit down with your word processor and just put it into your own literary terms.

So the book focuses on what will keep you going. What will keep the ideas flowing. Other systems tend to focus on what the story needs. You have to have a protagonist. He has to have some kind of a motivation, a ghost to drive an internal issue or problem.

You have to have a goal for him to try to achieve. You have to have obstacles in the way. An antagonist is essential. Maybe there’s some sort of a philosophically opposed character that represents the thematic issue that is troubling the main character.

Well if you start focusing on all those things, as important as they are to a story, if you’re looking in that direction you’re going to lose yourself. You’re going to lose your muse and you’re going to get all tied up in the process of the structuring of your novel rather than in the joy of writing it.

So step one describes all of these stages – inspiration, development, exposition and storytelling a little more fully, a little more clearly than I’m doing extemporaneously. But the whole purpose is to say ‘let’s try an approach where we take our focus our interest and turn around what makes you want to write what makes the process enjoyable, so what you write will be interesting to you and therefore the words you write will be more interesting to your readers.

how to write a story step by stepNow if you want to follow this through step by step you also have my website. You’ll find that we put a new step up every week and we’re serializing the book, so that people who can’t afford it or just want to go through one step at a time and not be bothered with the whole book all at once, can get it right on the internet at no charge.

But if you do want to order it, you can either buy it through our website or go to and look for me Melanie Ann Phillips or for the book Write Your Novel Step by Step and you’ll find available both in paperback and for the kindle.

Well that’s it for step one. In step two we’re gonna move on to how you get your head clear of all these ideas that are clogging it up because most authors come to a story with a lot of work that they’ve already done and they’re afraid they’re gonna lose some of these ideas if they don’t keep rehearsing them their head over and over again.

So they end up cramming in more and more stuff and spending more and more time trying to recall it all and how it fits together that they end up closing the valve on new ideas. Because there’s just no place to put them. So in step two of running your novel step by step, we’ll give you some suggestions for how to avoid that problem, or if you’ve got it how to get rid of it. That’s it for now and we’ll see you next time in step two of writing your novel step by step.

How To Write A Book Step By Step – Another Perspective

Hi literary nerds. I’m Meg LaTorre-Snyderand today I’m here to talk to you about the nine practical tips to start writing your novel. According to The Huffington Post approximately 80 percent of Americans want to write a book. That’s 8 in every 10 people but let’s be honest -writing a book is hard, really hard.

It’s hours of gruelling work, so before we talk about how to write a book, let’s talk about if we should write a book and some ones can tell you that you shouldn’t write a book and you believe them then maybe it’s not for you.

So if you hear that advice and you realise that, no you’re actually still like, you know, you’re supposed to read a book, then my friend keep watching. So writing a book, where to start.

Number one, research your age group and genre. A lot of people mix these two together, each group. So we’re thinking about middle grade, young adults adults. These are the groupings genre, so this is like fantasy, contemporary historical fiction, the overarching umbrella of what type of writing it is.

step by step guide to writing a bookSo these are two separate things, so you want to research both. If you’re writing adult contemporary, you want to read adult contemporary novels to see what’s the tropes in the genre. What’s been overdone. What’s selling. What’s not selling.

So you’re trying to research the market but any person means when they say research a novel is you want to read, read and read some more. You want to know the tropes and what’s going on in books these days but that’s how you learn actually how to write a novel, by reading the people who have written novels.

So an example in the fantasy genre – right now a lot of people are probably saying vampires and werewolves are way overdone. So you just want to be very conscientious of trends and overdone trends because you don’t want to like hurt yourself before you even start writing a novel.

Alright, so number two, outline your book. Okay now hear me out. I’m not saying outline the whole thing in every single plot detail, I mean outline the big plot point so you know where your arc is going to be in your novel. A lot of people have heard of architects and gardeners by that famous george RR martin quote and so basically the architects, they plan out everything in their novels, where gardeners they kind of write as I go and see what where things take me.

But essentially what I recommend is outline your book, just so that you know where the action is going to be because you do want that pretty plot arc in your novel. Number three, outline your characters like your plot. You really want to be very intimately familiar with your characters.

What are their desires, goals, greatest fears? So I’m not saying you really want to outline every single thing about your characters. However I do recommend making a couple of bullets and writing down things like their appearance or their impulses, so that way you don’t make an oopsie mistake.

Number four, set a daily word count goal. This is to kind of keep you in order and keep you running and keep you moving. It doesn’t have to remain the same indefinitely but set yourself a goal and then just keep at it. So you might do something like 500 words a day approximately.

That might be like two pages or you might be say something like 5,000 words a day. So do what you’re comfortable with and go for it in your workout goal every day. You do also want to be very conscientious that you do want to write every single day.

writing a novel step by stepThere’s tons of people who want to write a book but the difference between the people who want to write a book and who do write a book is that the people that do write their manuscript right even when they don’t feel like it.

So if you make a habit of writing every day, even when you don’t feel like it, then you’re well on your way to completing that manuscript. Number five, write in the same place every time. For me, I love writing either at my office or at a local coffee shop and that’s like my go-to spot.

But whether yours is writing at home, running at the kitchen table, going out somewhere, find that special place that you like to write and try to write there consistently. Because a lot of times your creative juices will start flowing just because you get to that place where you’ve been writing many times before.

Number six, set a total word count goal for your whole manuscript. In each age group and genre there is a word count expectation. You can check out some of the links below for those expectations but essentially you want to know if you’re writing a fantasy why a the work and expectation might somewhere around 75,000 words, and if you write something that’s 200,000 words long you might hurt yourself and have less literary agents and people interested in reading your manuscript.

Research, as we said before, for how long you want your manuscript to be. Okay number seven, give yourself weekly deadlines. So this is to kind of make make yourself very accountable. I think I’m 50 and my face you want to make sure you’re accountable.

So if your goal at daily goals to write, let’s say a thousand words, you want to make sure by the end of the week you have written seven thousand words. So maybe one day you write 500 words, the next day write 1500 words, make sure you hit that weekly deadline.

Number eight, make friends with fellow writers and get feedback. In my humble opinion this could be one of the hardest ones because, let’s be honest, a ton of writers are introverts and we are so awkward when making friends with other writers.

step by step writing a bookSo get yourself out there go on Meetup. Go on Twitter. Meet some awesome people. They’re really not as intimidating as we introverts like to think. Get some feedback, shove them in your manuscript and don’t be afraid if people are gonna say ‘they don’t like something’ and that’s the only way you can get better.

Number nine – edit, edit, edit and edit some more. So the first draft of your book should not be your final draft. The first draft is just you telling yourself this story and that’s so true. The first draft is you getting that awesome story that’s bubbling up in your brain onto the page. So that second, third, fourth, fifth draft is when you’re preparing it for the reader, so that they can see that epic story that’s inside your mind. Just keep editing.

Alright. A couple of other tips that aren’t in the nine – eliminate all possible distractions. That includes social media. Consider starting a blog or a column or write a few articles. Novel writing is a very, very long process but you do also want to get your name out there as a writer.

Consider checking out other forums or places that you can write and get published. Other than writing, go on a walk, go for a run and get those creative juices flowing. Don’t just be a little rating machine. Turn off your inner editor when you’re writing. You can’t have both editor and the writer coexisting. If you write creatively at the same time, the editor kills the creative urges of the writers.

So write – first go crazy and then maybe edit the next day and you might delete every single thing that you wrote, but make sure you keep those those two things separate. Don’t be afraid to scrap that entire book and write another.

On average, writers tend to write four novels before they hit the road and get a literary agent. Keep a glass of wine handy when you do start submitting your novels. You read, read a lot. Absolutely everything that you can because that’s research and it’s fun.

I shouldn’t have to tell you to read! This has been the nine practical tips to start writing your novel. Thank you guys for tuning in. If you like what you saw, subscribe below and like the page comments. Tell me what you want to hear about next time. Keep writing you.



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Writing A Movie Script

Writing a movie script

This is the second video from Dr Allen, Film Studies Professor, Pittsburgh, PA, where he explains the last 5 of his 10 principles of writing a movie script. You can see the first video here.

Number six – this is something where it’s almost like icing on the cake. You want to ground each scene through things that you add that are relatable, quirky and unique to your own voice.

These are those little touches that go beyond cliche, that go beyond the work of an amateur and that add just that special something, that special detail that separates you from an average writer and shows evidence of you being a great writer.

How To Write A Movie Script

When does the course start and finish? The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course – you decide when you start and when you finish. This is a fantastic way to start writing a movie script and contains all the basics you need. How long do I have access to the course? How does lifetime access sound?

So an example of that would be the dialogue scene between Jules and Vinnie Vega in Pulp Fiction. They’re talking about a Royale with cheese and what things are called in Europe versus America and it’s a it’s a very quirky scene. It’s also a scene that’s unique in Tarantino’s voice, because the year before with Reservoir Dogs Quentin Tarantino got to go to the Khans Film Festival and he got to go to Europe.

While he was there clearly he made certain observations about these fast-food joints and about where you could take up here in a movie theater, and where you could get drugs and things like that. These details then spill over into the dialogue between Vincent Vega and Jules, between John Travolta and Samuel Jackson.

How To Start Writing A Movie Script Step By Step

These are quirky details that ground the scene, that make these characters more realistic, more relatable and it gives an edge of believability and uniqueness to Tarantino’s writing. That John Travolta and Samuel Jackson would both be nominated for Oscars for their performance is just another indicator that these subtle touches took Tarantino’s writing of Pulp Fiction from being average to extraordinary.

If you do these things in your own writing, add those little details that personalize it that that somehow put your own touch, whether it’s a note about how a character dresses or a note about just those little things, that you observe in your day-to-day life – it has to be something that only you can put in.

It can’t be something that you got from somebody else or something that you’re copying. It has to be unique observations that you’ve made yourself. After all this is your story, not somebody else’s. So these that I’m talking about are extra touches and details that only you could add because you have a unique perspective that no one else has.

So these ways of grounding your scenes. These are going to be things, that if you do it, it’s going to appear one way, but if someone else did it it’s gonna appear another way. But it’s not like one way’s right and another way is wrong. It’s just that you need to add those little moments that only you can add to each scene through your observations of everyday life.

Number seven – you have to play on your reader, on your viewers fantasies. Why do I say this? Well a great movie, a great screenplay is always going to have a fantasy element. Even a drama, even a true-to-life drama has to have a fantasy element.

You’ve got to take your reader, your viewer somewhere that they wouldn’t ordinarily get to go. So for instance 1991’s Boys in the Hood. Wow! It’s a realistic drama about urban life for african-american youth in the summer of 91. It’s still a fantasy because that’s a life that most people don’t live.

Writing a movie script for dummies tipsThere’s a sense of vicariously living through Ice Cube’s character, through Ricky’s character, through Trey’s character and a sense of vicariously living through their world. Even though it’s a real-life situation, it’s still a fantasy because it’s a complete world.

Through the music, the milieu, things like that – you are on a journey. Well you want to make sure you’re, you have a sense of that. You want to make sure that you give your reader, your viewer a complete sense of that world.

This is why I think boys in the hood was such a successful film, earning fifty seven million dollars in 1991, even though it only costs seven million dollars, because John Singleton does an excellent job of painting that world.

You get a sense of the music, you get a sense of the style, you get a sense of the the apprehensions, the aspirations of each character. You just feel it. It’s not like it’s a story that’s action-packed from beginning to end, but you get so caught up in the characters and in their world.

You really care when Ricky gets killed at the end, because singleton is completely painting a picture of a world. It’s a fantasy world with gangsters, with drugs, with crack moms with prostitutes, but also with with with a young man trying to make it in the NFL or at least trying to make it to usc’s football team.

A young man trying to make it to college, you know furious styles, as played by Laurence Fishburne, you know he’s the dad that everybody wants. He’s tough. He says the right things. He can break things down. He’s wise. It’s a fantasy even though at the same time it’s set in a realistic situation.

This is also why James Bond is such an enduring character, because the average male wants to be able to woo the females and be able to do any sport imaginable, whether skiing or boating, or horseback riding. You know there’s not any athletic sport that James Bond can’t do.


He has all the clothes, he has all the the gadgets, the cars, you know. This is a fantasy figure and then he goes to all the exotic locales and things like that.

James Bond is more like a commercial than it really is like a narrative. You take this male figure and it’s where is he going to go next and the viewer follows him on his adventures. It’s not important who the villain is. It’s not even important who the girl is.

How to start writing a movie script guidelinesIt’s just important that there’s gonna be a villain, that there’s going to be a girl, that there’s gonna be exotic locales, that there’s gonna be lots of money spent, great cars, cool gadgets you know, and a little bit of sex thrown in.

This is the fantasy element and this is why James Bond up until recently has been the most successful franchise. Now it’s been beat by Harry Potter, although Harry Potter still hasn’t beaten James Bond if you adjust for inflation, but how can you provide your reader your viewer with a sense of fantasy?

You’ve got to take them to a world that they can’t otherwise get access to. Then you’ve got to paint that world so completely that it’s like they’re there. You’ve got to establish it through every little detail because even if this is your everyday world like, for instance, clerks with Kevin Smith, it’s an everyday world.

Its clerks working in a convenience store. He’s able to play in a world that for most people that’s not their life, so there’s a fantasy element to it. Play on that get your characters to do things that your audience, if they were in that situation, would want to do, but wouldn’t have the guts to do.

So that’s why the clerks are being so mean to the customers and they’re able to take a break and play hockey on the roof and you know use all kinds of fouling. These are things that you can only do in your fantasies if you work in that kind of job, because if you did it in real life you would lose your job.

So you want to figure out ways to create a fantasy for your viewers, for your readers and then you just want to have fun with it. Create a world painted in detail and then do things with your characters in that world that your readers would only dream about doing if they were really stuck in that world. You have an opportunity to let your readers vicariously do things through the characters that you’re creating.

Number eight – work hard to make every one of your scenes memorable. I know this is gonna be hard but you got to work hard. Do your best to make every single scene in your film in your script memorable, but certainly, even if you can’t make every scene memorable, you’ve got to make at least four scenes unforgettable.

Every great movie has at least three to four unforgettable scenes. If you look at the 100 greatest movies, these are all not just great characters, these are all not just great fantasies, these are movies with unforgettable scenes.

Steps to writing a movie script for a beginnerMatter of fact, I think one of the things that AFI should do are the 100 most memorable scenes but anyway think about great movies. The Godfather – you don’t just think about The Godfather, you don’t just think about Brando and Pacino.

Although you think about these things, you think about the horse’s head, you think about Sonny getting shot at the Tollbooth, you think about ‘leave the gun take the cannolis’, you think about all these different components that make the movie great.

These are memorable scenes, unforgettable scenes. You have to have memorable scenes. A great film just has to have that but it’s imperative that you have four unforgettable scenes. Pulp fiction has unforgettable scenes. There’s stuff that happens in Pulp Fiction that you will never forget.

You’ve got to be shocking. You’ve got to be different. You’ve got to be over-the-top sometimes but you got to make sure that you’ve got at least four scenes that are unforgettable. If you leave the audience with four scenes that they’ll never forget, they’re never gonna forget your movie.

If a person is reading your script and you leave them with four scenes that they’re never gonna forget, they’re never gonna forget your script. So that’s important. You want to work hard to make sure that every scene is memorable but you’ve got to have at least four scenes that are unforgettable.

Number nine – you’ve got to make sure that you take your reader, your viewer on a journey. One thing I love in a film is where by the end I feel like I’ve gone on a journey. I’m gonna latch on to that protagonist, to that main character and go on a journey.

I love that and I absolutely love a film that takes me to a place that’s unexpected. The first 30 minutes of the film, it’s establishing an ordinary world. I love it where I end up in the third act, is someplace totally unexpected by the first act. I love that.

It’s just there’s a great sense of it if I already know where the film is going, and I already have a sense of what to expect in the first act. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the film’s gonna be terrible but I love to be pleasantly surprised.

There are a great number of films that have done that for me but I think it’s important for you as a writer, for you as a filmmaker, to have a story that takes your viewers, takes your readers on a journey. How does that work?

Writing a movie script step by stepWell as I said earlier, the first 30 minutes of your film, if we’re dealing with a two-hour feature, are the establishment of your ordinary world. In keeping with Joseph Campbell’s sense of the hero’s journey, the hero, the main character, the protagonist, has to receive a call that more than likely he’s going to initially refuse.

But then he accepts and he goes on a journey. He goes to what’s called an extraordinary world. That extraordinary world should be where you create the fantasy. Then he comes out of that extraordinary world into where he’s going to resolve things for this story, and that’s where things can really get exciting and can really get unexpected.

It’s important to do, as I mentioned earlier, to create a last act that’s a commentary on the first act. Like Aristotle says, you don’t want to begin or end your story haphazardly. There’s a reason why your story begins where it begins and there’s a reason why it ends where it ends.

George Lucas has a great quote about how a son’s life is always going to be a commentary on the father’s life, and I think that’s that’s true and his interest and father-and-son relationships plays out in Star Wars.

Luke Skywalker’s life is very much a commentary on Anakin Skywalker’s life, so Star Wars four, five and six is essentially the adventure of Luke Luke Skywalker. Whereas Star Wars one, two and three is The Adventures of Anakin Skywalker. If you take Luke’s life as a commentary on Anakin’s life, it creates something that’s very interesting.

Infographic 8 Movie Elements

What I’m stressing here is the idea of taking your viewer, your reader on a journey but it can’t just go anywhere. The ultimate place, though unexpected, still has to have a poetic relationship to the beginning. So that even, though the last act is unexpected, when people get there they’re like ‘oh that ties together rather well’.

This was the kind of ‘aha’ moment that I had while watching episode 3, because even though the story was backwards, there was a tremendous poetic relationship. It’s not a coincidence that Yoda’s entering his ship which is shaped like his house at Dagobah with two setting crescent moons.

Well that’s a commentary visually on the end of the Jedi, just like when we first see Luke. He’s in a desert looking at two suns. The two suns are counter to the two setting moons because we’re seeing the twilight of the Jedi as Yoda enters a ship, and then with Luke we’re seeing the rise, a new hope.

Writing a movie script template structureIn essence, Luke looking at those two suns is the visual motif of that new hope. You have a commentary, so it’s not haphazard try to do something similar. Come up with an unexpected, come up with an unexpected ending for your story, that’s set up by your opening act.

But at the same time give it a poetic relationship so that people can say on their second viewing ‘Wow that does tie together, that makes a lot of sense, even though I had no idea it was going there’. Now that I see where, when – I can see how he was telling me that, or she was telling me that and giving me a hint that that’s where it was going all along.

This is what makes the sixth sense such a great film because when you go back and watch it you realize man the answer was right there in front of us, even though we couldn’t see it.

The last and most important element to great screenwriting is number 10 and that is to be true to yourself. There’s an old saying which says ‘write what you know’. Well that’s a little tricky. Does that mean write only what you know about?

So if you’re not an astronaut you should never write about astronauts? Or if you’re not a drug dealer you should never write about drug dealers? Or if you’re not a minister you should never write about Church?

I think that you can’t look at it that way because part of storytelling is using your imagination. I would rather say be true to yourself meaning write a story that only you can tell. Share a perspective that only you can share. Don’t try to share someone else’s perspective.

Don’t try to write like Lucas or try to write like Tarantino or try to write like Shyamalan or try to write like John Singleton. These are all filmmakers, writers who I admire in one way or another, and all who have been imitated in one way or another. But all who ultimately I’ve had to abandon to some degree in order to come to grips and to come to accept my own voice.

The last most important thing you should do is be true to yourself. Share a story from your perspective. You’ve got to take your viewers, your readers to a unique place that only you can take them. If one person tells the story of being an American, it’s gonna be different from another American’s story of being an American.

If one person tells a story of being a Pittsburgher, it’s going to be different from another person’s story of being a Pittsburgher. If one person tells the story of being an african-american father with a wife and two kids, somebody different from another person’s story of an african-american father with a wife and two kids.

Essentially I’m sharing my own situation. You’ve got to put your spin on it, your twist on it. You’ve got to do that. You’ve got to make sure that your story is essentially loaded with your personality, your perspective. Now some people will disagree with me because there’s a big debate in film studies now about auteur theory and that the film doesn’t really reflect a filmmakers personality etc etc.

In my opinion this was really all just an argument that enabled filmmakers to not have to take responsibility for the work they created, because if viewers were going to constantly be perusing their work to get clues into their personality it made filmmakers self-conscious.

The bottom line is you’re not going to spend six months a year on writing a script if it doesn’t interest you somehow, if it doesn’t appeal to your personality somehow. There’s going to be things that you’re not going to do because they don’t agree with your sensibilities, therefore it stands the reason that the things that you are doing somehow appeal to your sensibilities in some way shape or form.

So since that’s going to be the case, go all out make sure that you’re choosing stories, that you’re choosing narratives, that you’re creating characters and letting viewers and readers in on worlds that are reflective of sensibilities that you ultimately want to disseminate to the world, and give the world access to you.

How To Write A Script For A Short Film – Screenplay Tips

How to write a script for a short film template

Like many novel writers, I often find myself thinking in terms of moving images. I visualise my story and play a short movie in my head – so why not write the story in the form of a short film instead? The format isn’t like writing a novel. Show, not tell is obviously more important, and there are also certain formatting rules that have to be strictly followed.

After deciding to outline a screenplay for an idea I had for a short movie, I researched the internet for ‘how to’ articles and videos about writing movie scripts. Normally, I go for free resources, and as they say, ‘you pay your price and take your chance!

I have natural aversion to paying for script writing courses …

… when there’s so much free advice on the internet, until I came across ‘Movie In A Month’, a DVD course put together by James Lamberg. If you’ve never heard of him, it’s because he has mostly ghost-written over 30 commercially successful movies for USA and UK audiences.

Apart from the fact that the course is sent by physical DVD (quite rare nowadays) the testimonials from professionals are an eye-opener. I guess the lessons are DVD based because of the amazing guarantee that comes with the package, which I’ll get into right now.

In short, I have never seen such an impressive guarantee for any product offered on the internet. Basically, James promises that you will sell a movie script within a year of taking the course! If not, simply return the DVD in good conditions and get refunded 100%.

That’s not all. As well as showing you how to write a movie script fast, guidelines are given for submitting it in the right format, and even who to send it too to ensure it gets noticed. Check it out below and oh, by the way – it’s perfect for beginners who know nothing about the industry.

How to write a script for a short film - MovieInAMonthCourse-728x90Static

How To Write A Script For A Short Film – Josh’s Tips

Video Transcript:

Hey guys what’s up? It’s Josh WRD here bringing you a brand new video. Today is episode 2 of ‘How to make a short film’. This episode we are talking to you guys about script writing tips and tricks, and some inspirational links and just places that I found that have really helped me write my first scripts.

I spent the last like four months really, just like doing research, learning the ins and outs and really, like yeah, if there’s a lot more that goes into this, then this video will actually cover. But I thought this would give you kind of a good stepping stone or hopefully get the ball rolling for you guys to get your first script started.

Tips for how to write a script for a short filmThis is it right here. It’s not very long or anything. I don’t know if you can even see this okay. So first off you have your idea, like in the first video and that’s great. Now you need to know how to write a script, so there’s a whole bunch of links that I’m going to talk to you guys about.

In this video the first thing that I really wanted to do, to understand how to write a short script is to read scripts and I actually saw in a bunch of other videos that reading scripts is a really good start.

The first link that I’m going to give you is it’s like an Internet Movie Database, so IMDB for scripts and downloading scripts for yourself. And the first script that I downloaded is right here on the front page – ‘la-la land’.

I love Damien Chazelle and to see how he writes. I really wanted to, like, break down ‘lala land’ because it was my favorite movie last year, and I was just like all encompassed in this film.

I have it printed somewhere but I just to like use that as a stepping stone. To see how, here I’ll just click through here and show you guys just how easy this site is. I can’t really see, I got the camera kind of in the way here, so read ‘la-la-land’ script.

There we go. So as you can see, it is right here. I’m going to have all the links in the description below but go to ‘imsd’ be calm and read scripts instantly because that is the first thing that I did and that really did actually help me out.

Next thing you’re going to have to do is learn what like how scripts are put together. So I put a link in the description for this wiki how to page. Says ‘how to write a movie script’ so here’s just a quick overview of the stuff that you’re going to see in that understanding what a script is.

Read the scripts of some of your favorite movies. Well there you go. That’s what I just told you to do. Number three – flesh out your concept. Outline your story. Write the story in three acts because that’s every movie has three acts, if you didn’t know that.

Short movie script writing template

Udemy Script Writing Course For Beginners

To add some sequences, start writing your scenes. Begin writing dialogue. Cut away the dead weight and show your finished work to your friends. And that is the one that is, like, there’s been a lot of edits on my first script.

I have a writing partner in my friend Ben who went to school to become a writer, so I’m really fortunate to have a friend that is helping me out in this. He doesn’t have as much time as he used to in to write all the scripts, so I thought I would try and take this everything on myself and kind of encompass it into this channel.

The number one thing I could say as filmmaker in general is get, or hopefully you have, a friend that is already a writer like I do. Because that makes everything, the jumping off points, so much easier.

But if this is more, how to get you started, if you aren’t going to really be a screenwriter the whole time or if you just want to start making your own movies. So there you go. There’s another link for you guys.

So next I’m going to talk to you guys about the program that I used to write my first script and that is Celtx. It is a free script writing program online. Just go to I got the link in the description below.

Short film script writing guidelinesHere’s a few scripts that we’re working on. That’s the first rendition of Game Night. This is the actual script that for the short film. These are a whole bunch of, like premium things, that you can do with Celtx. As well as budgeting, storyboarding, index cards, breakdowns, shot lists, all that stuff.

It costs money but the script writing portion of this program is free and you can collaborate with your writing partner like I am with Ben. So here it opens up in a new window and this is, this is the entire script for Game Night.

So there’s just a little sneak peek. That’s all you guys get. I don’t want to show you too much because I want to keep the short film as spoiler free as possible. As well as breaking it down and going into how I’m creating it as I’m doing it, I don’t know if that’s going to be an easy process or not.

This is just another tip that has really worked out for me is, because I forget stuff, so have a little note notepad and if you’re watching a movie or TV shows just have it beside you. And if you see something that you really like, jot it down like ‘uh wow, the reveal of this character was really cool’ or they only showed this character wearing red and red had a lot of meaning to this particular film, or something and I really like the symbolism behind that.

I write down all that type of stuff in my notebook and just for cues for later. Like, I really knew the tone that I wanted for Game Night so I started watching a bunch of movies with in that same tone.

And I started borrowing a few ideas of the different movies and TV shows sort of had in that same kind of tone and that’s just a really cool way to inject other things that you might otherwise forget about while you’re at the writing process.

Celtx movie script writing softwareI rewrote a lot of stuff after, I looked back at my notes as well, so like, this has been a really good thing for me. In trying to put this whole thing together, lastly I just wanted to show showcase a few other YouTube channels that really helped me out when I when it came down to writing my first script.

And the main one that I’ve been a fan of for a long time is ‘Lessons from the Screenplay’. He does like, video essays and breakdowns of like, a lot of TV shows and movies that I really like. But he brings up what was actually on the screenplay first to show you how different things are from like the writing process to how they’re actually made on screen.

Or if there’s some improvisation or just stuff like that and it’s really cool and it really helped me kind of understand. It just really helped me understand the the writing processand it makes you again think a little bit differently of how to watch movies as well.

Like, for me, I’ve been watching movies probably differently than you watch movies for the majority of my life because I’ve been making short films and videos with my friends since I was a young kid. And I started watching movies on ‘how are they creating this? how are they putting this together?’

And I think that’s why I am so desensitized to horror movies and they don’t scare me anymore, because my mind is always thinking ‘oh how are they accomplishing this Gore? how are they doing this?.

I really want to break it all down and see the behind the scenes of this and that’s just how I always watch movies, unless I’m watching them to review them. I watch them a little more objectively than that. I don’t know, so that’s another tip to kind of, especially if you have a favorite movie, watch it over and over and over again.

Try watching with the sound off. That really helps you with like composition as well and it really helps you break down a movie completely. But with writing, obviously you want to have the sound on and see who dialogue and all that stuff, but yeah, Lessons from the Screenplay – amazing YouTube channel.

Definitely go and check him out if you’re planning on writing a script. Here’s another one, the Script Lab. They break down the whole process. This is the channel that you really want to go to if you have no idea what you’re doing, like me.

So I’m going to scour their channel a lot more, and yeah, just go through that because I want to continue to to write, because this is my first one. I want to make sure that this is, I just want it to be a stepping stone for me, writing and creating more films of my own.

The last link that I’m going to show you guys today is Film Courage. Again, it’s interviews with celebrities. It’s breakdowns of screenwriting tips and advice from other writers and that is seriously, like I spend, it’s like a ritual every Saturday morning.

I get to sleep in, so I choose to wake up and stay in for a good hour, or an hour and a half and just watch nothing but informative YouTube videos on an endless playlist. And I find myself laying in bed way longer than I expected.

So that is my tips and advice for screenplay writing or just in general. I hope this was informative for you guys. If it was, don’t forget to hit that like button. Let me know in the comments down below if there are any other informative channels or websites that I that I missed and I’ll add them to the description as well.

Let’s get the conversation going down below. I really want to know what you guys are working on and any other projects that you guys have on the go, or older projects that you want me to see.

I really want this channel to be a tight-knit film community to help all of us grow and make better films together. So that’s all I got for today guys. I hope you enjoyed this video. Thank you guys so much for stopping by….

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